The Brewers upped their offer for free agent infielder Craig Counsell on Thursday morning and departed the Winter Meetings feeling good about Counsell’s chances of returning to Milwaukee in 2010.
“I’m confident we’ll get it done,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “Craig is a big part of our organization, a big part of our city. I’d like to have him back.”
Counsell, who grew up in Milwaukee and still lives there, turned 39 in August but enjoyed his best season since he helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win the 2001 World Series, batting .285 for the Brewers in 2009 with 34 extra-base hits, a .357 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage. Counsell also went 5-for-16 as a pinch-hitter.
Melvin wouldn’t say whether the team had extended anything beyond a one-year offer. Counsell’s agent, Barry Meister, said Wednesday night that negotiations were going in a good direction.
“He had a good year last year and I don’t want to sell that short,” Melvin said. “He has an impact with our other players. He knows how the game is played, how to prepare for the game. I told him that someday, if he wants to, he could manage or be a coach. He still wants to play, and he had a good year last year.”