CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Guardians have reportedly requested permission from the Milwaukee Brewers to speak to Craig Counsell about replacing Terry Francona as manager.
The Athletic, citing league sources, was first to report Cleveland’s interest.
The Guardians, as is their policy, have neither confirmed nor denied the report.
Counsell’s contract with the Brewers expires at the end of October. The Mets have already obtained permission to speak to Counsell, where he could reunite with former Brewers executive David Stearns.
There’s a chance Counsell, a Wisconsin native, stays with the Brewers. They made it known that they wanted to keep him.
Counsell would be an expensive signing. So far, most of the candidates interviewed by the Guardians have been mostly big league coaches with minor league management experience. Some candidates never made it.
Under Counsell, the Brewers won the NL Central, but were upset in the wild card round by World Series runner-up Arizona. They have made the playoffs five times since Counsell replaced Ron Roenicke as manager during the 2015 season.
In 1997, Counsell, playing for the Florida Marlins, helped beat Cleveland in Game 7 of the World Series. He tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the ninth and scored the winning run in the 11th inning.
Francona announced at the end of the season that he was retiring as coach after 11 years in Cleveland. He led Cleveland to the playoffs six times.
Counsell would be an interesting candidate in Cleveland. Milwaukee and Cleveland are similarly sized markets, with analytics-oriented front offices and tight payrolls.