MLB Rumors: Failed Craig Counsell reunion suggests Cubs aren't 'most exciting' team in NL Central

Left-hander Brett Suter recently passed up an opportunity to reunite with his former manager, Craig Counsell. The veteran reliever chose the Cincinnati Reds over the Chicago Cubs.

Minnesota Twins v Colorado Rockies
Minnesota Twins v Colorado Rockies / Rachel O'Driscoll/Colorado Rockies/GettyImages

One of the defining traits of the 2023-24 MLB offseason has been the notable stall in free agency. Several top stars have yet to sign new contracts. In the relief pitcher's market, there hasn't been much movement, as Josh Hader is still a free agent.

One of the more underrated relievers available was left-hander Brent Suter. He was a teammate of Hader's during their time with the Milwaukee Brewers playing under then-manager Craig Counsell. Suter ultimately signed before his old teammate, joining the Cincinnati Reds.

Suter did have the opportunity to reunite with Counsell by signing with the Chicago Cubs. However, despite the promise of a potential reunion, Suter chose Cincinnati.

"Reuniting with Counsell was very intriguing and the Cubs definitely had a lot of interest," said Suter to FanSided Insider Robert Murray. "Counsell is simply one of the best managers I have ever seen in my life and I love that guy."

But it was not to be, as Suter ultimately chose his hometown team.

"The opportunity to play for such an exciting young team 15 minutes away from my offseason home for a group of coaches, teammates, and fans that seem so bought into each other was simply too good to pass up," the left-hander said.

Bret Suter's choice suggests Reds are on the rise

While many are expecting the Cubs to win a weak NL Central division in 2024, Suter's comments may suggest that the Cubs may not be the most exciting team in the NL Central.

While the opportunity to play with his hometown team was the ultimate factor, Suter clearly sees something in the Reds that he likes. Cincinnati has a young core featuring stars such as Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Spencer Steer, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Alexis Diaz. In addition, they added Jeimer Candelario, Nick Martinez, and Frankie Montas in free agency.

As such, the Reds could ultimately find themselves at the top of the NL Central by the end of the 2024 season. Suter gives them a viable left-handed arm out of their bullpen, and the division is wide open. There is no clear favorite at the moment.

Suter was a part of two NL Central winning squads during his time with the Brewers, and he now has a chance to be a part of yet another division champion in Cincinnati, his hometown.

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