Morning Marquee: The Chicago Cubs introduce Joe Maddon; Terry Francona extended through ’18


Joe Maddon made an immediate impression with the Chicago Cubs and the media at the news conference announcing him as the new skipper. He spoke about the aligning of philosophy between he and the Cubs front office, the potential of the teams prospects who’ve just arrived and those on the way and oh, the World Series next year too.

Not to be taken out of context, Maddon would talk that way no matter the talent level of his team. He believes in setting the bar high, because if you don’t you might just hit it. His honesty and relaxed attitude was a big hit with the press, and his offer to buy a round for everyone did nothing to hurt his reputation.

With Maddon now set in place, discussion will take place with the coaching staff to get everyone on the same page as the Cubs prepare for the free agent season. Maddon’s arrival could help the team, as his reputation may help to sway players that were either on the fence, or maybe not interested in all. Regardless, when does spring training start? Cubs’ fans are ready.

Terry Francona, the man who got the job in Boston when Theo Epstein chose him over Maddon in 2003 received a two-year contract extension with the Cleveland Indians. Francona has changed the culture in Cleveland, returning them to an annual competitor. The deal runs through 2018, with club options for 2019 and ’20.

Several big name players were extended qualifying offers at the deadline, and now have a week to decide to accept or decline. The offers were for $15.3 million, the average salary of the top 125 MLB contracts. Pablo Sandoval, Max Scherzer, Nelson Cruz and James Shields are just some of those who were offered. Many are expected to decline and test the open market in search of large, multi-year deals.

Here are the headlines from yesterday:

‘Joe Maddon ready to “simplify” things for the Chicago Cubs‘ – Cubbies Crib

‘Cubs re-sign Tsuyoshi Wada to a one-year deal’ – Cubbies Crib

‘Francona gets contract extension through 2018’ –

‘Giants extend $15.3 million qualifying offer to Pablo Sandoval’ – Call to the Pen

Ramirez exercises option, will remain with Brewers’ – Call to the Pen