Craig Counsell's contract as Cubs manager shatters MLB record: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Chicago Cubs stunned the baseball world with their reported hiring of former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell, and the contract they inked him will set a new bar for skippers in the league.
According to multiple reports, including from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Counsell’s contract with the Cubs checks in at five years and $40 million in all, giving him an annual salary of $8 million.
Craig Counsell's $8 million-a-year deal with the Chicago Cubs is an industry-shaking deal. In recent years, multiple coaches have pointed out that it's more lucrative financially to take a job with a college program than an MLB team. Counsell's deal could help change that in MLB.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 6, 2023
That would make Counsell not just the highest-paid manager in the league, but also the highest-paid manager in baseball history, besting the $7.5 million annual salary commanded by famed New York Yankees manager Joe Torre during the heyday of the team’s dynasty in the early 2000’s.
In addition to setting an all-time record, the reported deal also rewrites the expectations for free agent managers in today’s MLB. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Terry Francona had been the highest-paid manager in baseball before his retirement, earning $4.5 million with the Cleveland Guardians.
San Diego’s Bob Melvin made $4 million during the 2023 season, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. He also reported that six managers in MLB made less than $1 million in the 2023 season, with a staggering 15 managers earning $1.75 million or less.
Counsell made $3.5 million with the Brewers during his final season in Milwaukee, according to reports, while Houston’s Dusty Baker collected $3 million a year after winning the World Series. Dave Roberts, who won the 2020 title with the Los Angeles Dodgers, earned $3.25 million in the 2023 season, per Nightengale’s report.
Multiple reports say Counsell was offered a deal by the Brewers that would have made him the highest-paid manager in baseball, but that the annual salary was far below what the Cubs ultimately offered him.