Add another potential name into the mix for the Cleveland Guardians as their search for Terry Francona's successor continues. The team has reportedly requested to interview Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell, according to The Athletic's Will Sammon (subscription required).
Counsell is still under contract with Milwaukee until the end of October, making permission necessary if a team wants to get a little headstart in the interview process. The New York Mets have successfully requested and been granted permission to speak with Counsell, which may make it possible for Cleveland's request to be approved.
The Guardians' job is one of several that are open this offseason, meaning that they will have some competition for someone as highly regarded as Counsell. In addition to the Guardians and Mets, the Astros, Padres, and Angels have openings that may be of interest to the longtime Brewers' manager. While some of these markets and financial situations may be more intriguing, the similarity between Milwaukee and Cleveland cannot be ignored, which is why an agreement between the two parties may not be that far-fetched.
"Multiple league sources linked Counsell to the Cleveland Guardians’ manager opening as a candidate. The Guardians have asked permission to speak with him, league sources said. And people within the industry insisted that Cleveland, another small-market team that operates much like Milwaukee, could make a serious financial pitch to Counsell; previously, Terry Francona was among the highest-paid managers. The Guardians’ front-office group operates in a forward-thinking way — similar to the Brewers before and after Stearns — and that might hold some appeal to Counsell."- Will Sammon on Craig Counsell
Should Cleveland be able to actually land an interview with Counsell, he should rise to the top of their candidate list. Of course, this is as long as both sides seem agreeable to the terms of a contract and how the team is going to operate as they begin their next competitive cycle. Having a manager with previous success in this type of environment to oversee this process would be optimal, and Counsell is the only potential candidate that fits this description.