Empowered manager Craig Counsell expects Cubs to spend wisely, not recklessly, in free agency


CHICAGO (670 The Score) – The Cubs’ hiring of new manager Craig Counsell isn’t necessarily an indication that they’re going to attempt to spend their way this offseason to a World Series title.

Even Counsell himself offered caution on that front after his introductory press conference Monday.

“Look, free agency is fun,” Counsell said. “It's really fun to talk about. It’s fun to write about. Here, I think it's certainly on the table to do. The mission for (president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer) is what's the best way to build something for a long time? When I say the organization is in a healthy place, he has all the options on the table to do that.”

Counsell joined the Cubs after managing a thrifty Brewers franchise for the past nine seasons, one that had limited resources to sign high-profile free agents. Despite being empowered by inking a five-year, $40-million deal with the Cubs, Counsell isn’t planning to exhort Hoyer or ownership to spend big in his first offseason on the job.

"Free agency can get you in a lot of trouble,” Counsell said. "There are certainly the options to (spend big). There are also the options to talk about anything and other ways moving forward. I think Jed made that clear in the press conference. That's exciting to hear. But I think how you build a team that can continue to compete, it certainly takes more than free agency. I think we all know that.”

To be clear, the Cubs have large amounts of case available and expect to be busy in free agency and the trade market this winter. But they’re still viewing their evolution through a long-term lens, and Hoyer has stressed that he wants to make “big moves” when the opportunity smoothly lines up. He doesn’t want to force anything.

“I still don't think this is a one-year process,” Hoyer said. "I am excited about where we are at as an organization. I believe we have a really good core of players in the major leagues. I think we have a really good farm system. I think where we are at from a financial standpoint is exciting. We have all worked really hard to put us in that position. But this does not say we are going to be irresponsible in this offseason if there are not the right transactions (to be made). The goal is to continue the trajectory we are on. We hope to really push that forward.”

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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