Counsell Retreads

Yesterday Major League Baseball announced that the Milwaukee Brewers had agreed to a contract with former Arizona Diamondback Craig Counsell. This marks the second trip to Milwaukee for Counsell. He was dealt from the Diamondbacks to the Brewers in the 2003 off-season as part of the ill-advised trade that brought Richie Sexon to the Diamondbacks for his 3 week vacation. Counsell is originally from the Milwaukee area having gone to high school there. He should feel right at home as a Brewer since several of his teammates from Arizona have become Brewers including catcher Johnny Estrada and pitchers Greg Aquino and Claudio Vargas. The contract terms have Counsell earning $2.8 million in 2007 and 2008. The Brewers hold an option for 2009 valued at $3.4 million with a $400,000 buy-out.

It should be interesting to note that the Diamondbacks wanted to bring back Counsell in 2007 as a utility player capable of playing second, shortstop, and third to give Hudson, Drew, and Tracy a breather. At that time Counsell declined stating that he wanted to go where he could be a starter in the infield. There have been rumors linking Counsell to the San Diego Padres who are looking for a starting second baseman to replace Josh Barfield whom they traded earlier. Instead Counsell chose a team who has two starters already in place for second base and shortstop. Granted, Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy have shown that they are injury prone so that might have come into play in Counsell’s decision. In the end though it appears that this was all about being closer to his family. Craig and his wife Michelle recently built a house in Whitefish Bay near Milwaukee and with three small children it seems natural that he would want to be close to home. It sometimes gets lost that these ball players are also husbands and fathers. We get so caught up in the money and drive to win that we lose sight of the fact that players are away from their families nearly half the year. That makes it extremely difficult to keep a marriage together or be involved in the lives of your children. I have to give credit to Craig Counsell to put his family before his career to sign with the home town club rather than being a thousand miles away but playing every day. Hopefully everything will work out for him.

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