The New York Mets have received permission to interview Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.
The 53-year-old, who has spent the last nine seasons with his hometown team, will now be able to speak with the NL East side about its vacancy ahead of schedule. Counsell’s contract with the Brewers will expire on Oct. 31, meaning Steve Cohen and president of baseball operations David Stearns — who worked in Milwaukee’s front office above him — can speak to him within the next week.
Given his strong ties with Stearns while leading the Brewers to five postseason appearances in six years — the franchise made the playoffs just four times before he took over — Counsell immediately became the Mets’ top managerial target after firing Buck Showalter on the final day of a disappointing regular season.
Regardless, speculation arose that revealed multiple factors that could provide a wrench into the New York’s plans. Counsell’s willingness to leave his hometown was originally unknown along with his desire to even continue managing. But a report from SNY’s Andy Martino earlier this week indicated that Stearns would have no issue making the move to New York to potentially manage the club.
Filling the managerial vacancy is just one of the major to-dos on Stearns’ offseason checklist. Upon Billy Eppler’s surprise resignation as general manager, that front-office position could be addressed either this offseason or next. New York is also perceived to be a major player on the free-agent market, which is headlined by Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.