This morning on The Score 670 AM, Steve Rosenbloom and Mark Grote had Joe Maddon’s agent Alan Nero on the show. Nero’s offices are based in Chicago, and that has only helped to fuel the fire of the possibility of Maddon coming to Chicago. The podcast should be up on The Score later today, but here are the paraphrased bits from the interview.
- Nero says Maddon was very tied to the Rays organization and community, and when putting the opt-out clause in place, not much was thought of it at the time, it was simply protection from a organizational shake-up (Which of course seemed unlikely at the time). Now as the front-office has made changes, Maddon didn’t want to be bound to a contract that was under market.
- There have been calls coming in, but in reality, there is only one opening in baseball, and that is the Minnesota Twins. Nero didn’t specify who (as he legally cannot), or to what position the teams contacting him are interested in. There was interest in front-office positions though, as Nero mentioned.
- Nero believes Maddon would be interested in the city of Chicago, and that the Cubs are “on the radar”. This is nothing more than speculation based on the fact that Maddon likes the city itself, and said it would be a great city to win in.
- On the possibility of sitting out 2015, it is feasible. Nero referenced a former client, Lou Piniella, who sat a season out and worked as an analyst before, coincidentally, taking the Cubs job.
It’s very difficult to read much into Nero’s comments. He’s not really at liberty to discuss much, and is trying to be respectful of all parties involved. It was not an easy decision for Maddon to leave the Rays, as he was deeply ingrained in the community, and had been very successful in a small-market.
Everything in the Maddon to the Cubs fairytale is speculation right now. But one thing to consider is several of the possible “suitors’ for his services have publicly said they are not interested, or will not pursue him. The Cubs however, have not made such a statement, or given any votes of confidence for Rick Renteria.
In my opinion, this is nothing against Renteria, as he fared very well in the second-half with a team of rookies, who lost two-fifths of it’s rotation at the trade deadline. But this may be a once in a lifetime chance. In 2003, when the Red Sox hired Terry Francona, Maddon was a close second. Last year, Maddon’s right-hand man Dave Martinez was in the running for the Cubs job. Theo Epstein has been close to hiring each of them before, and now the chance of a combo deal with a young club ready to break out?
I think this has to get done. Make it so Theo.