With reports swirling that the Tampa Bay Rays could be looking into pursuing tampering charges against the Chicago Cubs following Chicago’s hiring of former Rays skipper Joe Maddon, the 60-year-old skipper’s agent, Alan Nero, spoke to MLB Network Radio about the situation – including why he left Tampa Bay – in an interview Sunday morning.
Maddon’s desire to join the Cubs was made abundantly clear by the fact that Nero said he was offered a role similar to that of Tony LaRussa in Arizona, at the helm of the baseball operations department. The fact that Maddon turned down such an offer shows his willingness to lead Chicago through the final stage of its rebuilding effort and into contention in the years to come.
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In reference to his departure from Tampa Bay, Maddon’s agent said that the organization was unwilling to make him one of the top five-highest-paid managers in the game, and the two sides failed to agree to terms despite almost a week of discussions related to a potential extension. This comes as no surprise given the Rays’ budgetary constraints that limit the organization in all aspects, including on-field payroll.
Nero says the Cubs were by-the-book in their pursuit and acquisition of Joe Maddon./pullquote]
According to Nero, who, granted, is paid to represent Maddon and portray his client in as favorable of a light as possible, said that the soon-to-be Cubs skipper was willing to stay with the Rays for a deal well under fair market value, but when it came down to it, Tampa Bay “wasn’t willing to pay.”
One of the more controversial aspects of Maddon joining the Cubs involved the tampering accusations that have been prevalent since the two sides drew closer to a deal earlier last week. However, according to Nero, the Chicago front office was by-the-book in every regard of their discussions – never luring Maddon prior to his departure from the Rays.
The Cubs are set to introduce Maddon as the club’s next manager on Monday afternoon at the Cubby Bear, a Wrigleyville bar near the Friendly Confines. The event could not be held at Wrigley Field due to the ongoing renovation project. The details of the deal have not been announced, but Maddon was believed to have been seeking a five-year deal worth $25 million.