There were more than a few Chicago Cubs fans who were hoping the San Francisco Giants could finish off the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night in Game 6. It wasn’t necessarily because they were rooting for Bruce Bochy‘s club or had some National League support coursing through their veins. More than likely, it was because once the Fall Classic ends, an answer on whether or not Joe Maddon is going to be the team’s next manager is likely to come out.
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A Chicago Sun-Times report indicated that Maddon and the team have been in talks, leaving current Cubs skipper Rick Renteria in a less-than-desirable position, although he issued a brief, very professional statement earlier in the week regarding the matter.
"“I was hired nearly a year ago to be the Chicago Cubs manager,” the statement read. “Notwithstanding all the speculation, I continue to focus my off-season preparation on achieving the goal we established from the start: bringing a championship to Chicago.”"
Last year, the team improved by seven games record-wise, avoiding losing 90 games for the first time since the start of the decade. Several of the club’s top talents, including Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, made big league debuts, to varying degrees of success, while a handful of pitchers, including Jake Arrieta, Hector Rondon and Kyle Hendricks, broke out in a big way, leading to an increased sense of optimism surrounding the team.
According to the Sun-Times report, however, Renteria’s time could be nearing an end – although nothing is certain.
"Major-league sources say the Cubs, who have been in discussions this week with free-agent manager Joe Maddon, could have an answer by Friday. Either they will land Maddon, finding the perfect manager for their multiyear rebuilding mission, or they will have swung and missed, leaving them with a mess on their hands with incumbent Rick Renteria."
In other words, the Cubs better land Maddon.
If they fail to do so, then they have reports swirling that they were talking with a potential replacement, albeit he is one of the game’s best managers, despite having Renteria under contract for two more years. Then, they would be faced with bringing him back for 2015 and beyond with this knowledge – which isn’t to say it’s not possible, but it could be a complicated affair.
Renteria showed in his statement that he is taking the high road, which fits his personality. It’s not hard to imagine he would understand the Cubs’ position, even if they were to dismiss him and hire Maddon in the next few days. The former Tampa Bay skipper helped turn around an organization that had never won – let alone been a perennial contender – something the Cubs are looking to do with a very young team – perhaps as early as 2015.
So, with details still murky and questions lingering, one bit of good news will come out of the conclusion of the baseball season Wednesday night in Kansas City; the uncertainty surrounding Maddon and the Cubs is likely nearing an end.