David Ross woke up this morning as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. Probably ate a bagel as manager of the Chicago Cubs. Maybe scrolled through some Instagram posts and liked a few as manager of the Chicago Cubs. Thought about ordering a pizza for dinner tonight as manager of the Chicago Cubs before remembering he needed to cook those bell peppers in his crisper before they go bad. Fajita night was maybe even pondered as manager of the Chicago Cubs.
That changed midday, however, as the Cubs shocked the baseball world by not only signing Craig Counsell to be their new manager, but by signing him to a whopping $40 million contract. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal had the news:
Counsell getting five-year contract from Cubs worth more than $40M, league sources tell @TheAthletic. Will be highest-paid manager.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 6, 2023
David Ross will not be the manager of the Chicago Cubs any longer, and the balance of power within the National League Central certainly appeared to tip with this news. Obviously, the Milwaukee Brewers are losing Counsell after a brilliant run with the club, but Counsell’s decision to go to Chicago - when the likes of the big-spending Mets and Houston Astros were also seemingly interested - surely means that he’s got some kind of assurance that the Cubs will be investing heavily in winning baseball games as soon as right now.
A quick glance at the current (and future) payroll of the Cincinnati Reds suggests they’ve got some spending power of their own within the division, but it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow when the Cubs, one of the biggest clubs in the entire sport in one of the nation’s biggest TV markets, kicks off their offseason with a move of this magnitude.
Speaking of the Reds, they added back onto the 40-man roster each of Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and Reiver Sanmartin today, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. While Lodolo and Ashcraft were obvious administrative re-adds from the 60-day IL at season’s end, it’s pretty notable the commitment the Reds have to Sanmartin by keeping him around. With just a 68 ERA+ since the start of the 2022 season (71.0 IP) and Tommy John surgery in July that will likely keep him out for most, if not all of 2024, it would be easy to think they’d just try to pass him through waivers and open up a 40-man spot for something else. Not so!
Old friend Riley O’Brien has been acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals. You may recall him from such events as ‘gave up 2 dingers in 1.1 IP on the 2021 Cincinnati Reds,’ or ‘was acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Cody Reed,’ and ‘probably got nicknamed ‘Baba’ by the Farmers Only team at Red Reporter dot com a time or four.’
Enjoy those fajitas, Dave.