Brewers extend Craig Counsell through '23 season

General manager David Stearns didn't have to do much thinking when it came to a new long-term deal for Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell.

"Both Craig and I thought this was probably an inevitability at some point," Stearns said Wednesday after announcing a three-year extension for Counsell through the 2023 season. "It was just a matter of finding a time to work through the details."

Counsell, 49, had one season remaining on his contract.

"You know this job doesn't have much security," Counsel said. "I think we've taken steps to put the franchise in a good place, and that's going to be the job moving forward -- to keep it in a good place and to keep us contenting for playoff appearances and World Series titles. That's our mission going forward, and hopefully with some stability, that helps us do that."

Hired to replace Ron Roenicke a month into the 2015 season, Counsell led the Brewers to consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in team history.

Counsell already is the longest-tenured manager in the National League. Among all big league managers, he is fifth behind Oakland's Bob Melvin, Cleveland's Terry Francona, Houston's AJ Hinch and Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash.

"I think it's one of the reasons we've been successful," Stearns told reporters Wednesday. "We have an organization here that is growing together, that continues to grow together and continues to learn together. That's Craig, that's me, that's our front office group, our scouts, our player development personnel and our coaches.

"We're all, as the years go by, becoming more and more familiar with each other and capable of pushing each other farther and farther with the goal of making our organization better. That stability is a positive for us. It's something, as an organization, that we value. I value it, Craig values it and I'm glad that we get to keep it going."

Milwaukee went 96-67 in 2018, beating the Chicago Cubs in a tiebreaker game for the NL Central title and tying the franchise record for wins. The Brewers reached Game 7 of the NL Championship Series, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, then lost to Washington in last year's NL wild-card game after wasting an eighth-inning lead.

The 49-year-old Counsell finished second in NL Manager of the Year voting in each of the last two seasons. He is 405-381 with the Brewers, which ranks fourth on the team's all-time wins list and is just 158 behind Phil Garner for the No. 1 spot.

"I look at it more like I get to continue to work for the franchise that means a lot to me," Counsell told reporters Wednesday. "We get to continue doing what we've been doing, and try to take it to another level. It's really that the work gets to continue. That's what I'm excited about.

"Hopefully, we've taken steps to put the franchise in a good place. That's going to be the job moving forward, to keep it in a good place, to keep us contending for playoff appearances and World Series titles. That's our mission going forward. Hopefully, the stability helps us do that."

Counsell was raised in Milwaukee and his father, John, worked in the Brewers' community relations department and ran the team's speakers bureau. Counsell played 16 seasons in the major leagues and won World Series rings with the Florida Marlins in 1997 and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. He spent his last five big league seasons with the Brewers, who hired him after the 2011 season as a special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.