Offseason 2012: Craig Counsell Returns?

After a disappointing 2011 season, many assumed that, at 41, Craig Counsell would head happily off into retirement.  Not the case, reports Jon Morosi.  Morosi apparently spoke with Counsell’s agent, Barry Meister, who informed him that Counsell intends to play in 2012.

Of course, that may just be agent speak, indicating Counsell will gauge the market before making a decision on retirement.  That market may be slow-developing.  Counsell’s age works against him, as does his declining bat.  In 187 plate appearances in 2011, Counsell managed only a .178 average, though his .280 on base percentage was considerably better.  Still, Counsell is a versatile player, capable of manning second, short, third and, as we learned this season, left field.

It isn’t clear right now whether the Brewers will be interested in bringing Counsell back.  Doug Melvin recently said he would sit down and talk to Counsell at some point in the future.  But the team’s first priority, as far as infield depth, should be Jerry Hairston, Jr., who is only 35 and was an absolute revelation in the postseason.

*UPDATE*  Doug Melvin will not ask Counsell to return to the team in a playing capacity, but it is possible that Counsell would join the front office in some capacity if he can’t find playing time.

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