Is Craig Counsell "the guy" for the Chicago Cubs? We won't know until we do (or don't). But they got the guy they wanted, and they quickly tossed a franchise hero to the curb in David Ross, who had one more year remaining on his contract to manage the team.
Would New York Yankees fans have liked to see Counsell in pinstripes? We're sure most would just so Aaron Boone could get sent packing. But the fact of the matter is that Counsell was not orchestrating any sort of turnaround with the Bombers.
And his body of work? One playoff series win in eight years as manager? Very deliberately hired as the Brewers front office's on-field general to execute their philosophies? There's no doubt Counsell possesses a feel for the game that fans like in a manager, but the Yankees overextending themselves to give Counsell an historic contract wasn't "the move."
That said, there's something to be gleaned here about the Yankees' overall urgency. When was the last time they went out and got their guy? Threw caution to the wind? Displaced somebody in favor of an undeniable upgrade?
Gerrit Cole's $324 million contract was the last time fans saw the Yankees really go all out. Even the Giancarlo Stanton trade had them minimizing risk. How many of their trade deadlines were focused on that, too? Carlos Rodón's $162 million deal was in the works for weeks, it was hardly a plunge or an out-bid.
Cubs' urgency with Craig Counsell speaks to larger Yankees problem
The Yankees didn't need to make their statement with Counsell ... but how about someone? Anyone? During one of the most important windows in franchise history? You're housing Cole and Aaron Judge in their primes and have managed to get worse while taking almost zero risks.
Think about all the Cubs had to lose here. First and foremost, alienating Ross, which they most definitely did. Secondly? Losing the clubhouse because of the abrupt decision. Thirdly? Internal friction among those who wanted to keep Ross.
But they believes the pros outweighed the cons. They stole one of the game's best managers from a hated division rival. They believed Counsell could make them more of a destination for the game's best free agents. They believed Counsell was an upgrade in more ways than one, and they didn't wait. They beat out the Mets, who in theory have more spending power, and gave Counsell the largest contract for a manager in MLB history.
Just from a managerial perspective, the Yankees let Rob Thomson walk. They missed out on Bob Melvin twice. They let Carlos Mendoza leave for the Mets after 15 years with the organization. Now Counsell. Many others were in between.
On the player side of things? Don't remind us. Just please change this trend. Break the wheel. We can't keep seeing other teams with fewer reasons to be aggressive be far more aggressive than the Yankees.