BREAKING NEWS: Joe Maddon opts-out of contract; Cubs top on the list?
Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out option in his contract, and will immediately be leaving the Tampa Bay Rays. The Twitterverse has exploded with the idea he could come to the Chicago Cubs. Crazy, right? Right?
Maddon was a player favorite, and had great success in Tampa Bay with limited resources. In nine seasons, Maddon led the Rays to the playoffs four times, including winning the pennant in 2008. Among active managers, he ranks among the best in 90-win seasons. He has five, trailing Terry Francona and Mike Scioscia with with seven.
The Rays did everything in their power, but in the end, Maddon felt it was time to explore other options.
"“We tried diligently and aggressively to sign Joe to a third contract extension prior to his decision,” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement Friday. “As of yesterday afternoon, Joe enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball. He will not be managing the Rays in 2015.” –via EPSN.com"
In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Maddon cited financial reasons and curiosity over new opportunities. He said there were contract talks with the Rays, but they were “too far apart”.
"“I have been doing this for a long time,” Maddon told the newspaper. “I have never had this opportunity to research my employment on my terms. Never, never, never. And I think anybody given the same set of circumstances would do the same thing.”"
The Chicago Cubs have maintained complete silence since the announcement, while speculation on the internet has run rampant. Some see the Cubs as a good fit, due to it’s young core of players, and Maddon has mentioned an appreciation for the city of Chicago. Others, like Ken Rosenthal, see it like this:
There is also the added bit of intrigue. Maddon’s right-hand man, former Cub Dave Martinez, was in the running for the job last season. He complimented the Cubs on how they handled the process. Maybe enough to help sway the decision? The New York Mets are considered high on the list, and the Los Angeles Dodgers as well, but they maintain they aren’t interested.
Was the job Rick Renteria did this year that bad? Or is Maddon just too good an option to pass up? The thought of the Cubs considering the move isn’t far fetched; reports of them pursuing Joe Girardi came while Dale Svuem was still under contract. After Girardi opted to stay in New York, the Cubs went with the lesser known Renteria.
The team has the money to pursue Maddon. And if needed buy out Renteria’s remaining deal which runs through 2016. The question is, is this a smart move? What does it say if the Cubs have a third manager in three years? And signing the “well known” managers hasn’t exactly paid off in the past, although Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella had their share of successes.
Theo Epstein always plays it close to the vest, so the veil of silence will only add to speculation. and to top that, team’s aren’t to make any announcements during the World Series. So however realistic the chance is, the baseball world will have to wait a bit to see where Maddon lands.
What do you think Cubs fans? Is this a move the team should make? Or does Renteria deserve time to prove himself? Give us your thoughts. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.