Cubs prez: Manager change right move, but ‘exceptionally hard’

Field Level Media

November 08, 2023 at 3:05 am.

Firing David Ross was an “exceptionally hard” decision, but hiring Craig Counsell was the right move for the Chicago Cubs, team president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said.

Hoyer and the Cubs agreed to a five-year, $40 million deal to hire Counsell days after his contract with the Milwaukee Brewers expired.

“It just felt like an exceptionally hard decision but one that I felt like I had to make if the opportunity was there,” Hoyer said at the general managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday. “My job is to figure out how to win as many games as we can in the short term and the long term, and there was nothing about this move that I felt like didn’t meet that criteria.”

Ross played for the World Series-winning Cubs in 2016 and was hired to replace Joe Maddon after the 2019 season. Hoyer flew to Florida this week to meet with Ross and deliver the news in person. Hoyer said his message was the move wasn’t about replacing Ross, it was about not being able to pass on the chance to hire Counsell.

“He’s unbelievably sharp,” Hoyer said of Counsell. “His sense of what his job entails and the responsibility of his job stood out to me. This guy wants to handle every singular part of the process and views that as his responsibility. The way he views the totality of everything as his responsibility.”

Counsell said he took the job because he wanted a new challenge. He also was a candidate for openings with the New York Mets and Cleveland Guardians.

Hoyer added about Ross, “There was a suddenness to all this that was unavoidable but unfortunate. I think the world of him. I think he has an amazingly bright future. He’ll land on his feet and have a great career in this game for a long time. If it’s a really hard decision and I’m willing to make it, it feels like I’m doing the right thing for the organization.”

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