Chicago Cubs: Joe Maddon is the only man to manage this team
By Jake Misener
With two years left on his five-year contract, Joe Maddon has accomplished a great deal. And, moving forward, he remains the man for the job.
Despite bringing an elusive World Series championship to the North Side, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon gets little credit from a great many people. Once the confetti settled on the 2016 campaign, everyone grilled Maddon over his use of Aroldis Chapman in the Fall Classic.
And, don’t get me wrong, it was odd – especially letting him throw 20 pitches in a blowout Game 6 win in Cleveland. But Maddon justified it, pointing out that if anything went wrong there, we never see the deciding Game 7 and he’d have gotten lit up for not having his best reliever on the mound to close it out.
This year, the Cubs languished for much of the first half. The club never seemed to hit its stride before the All-Star Break, but caught fire down the stretch, putting up a .662 winning percentage in the second half. That, of course, culminated in. a second consecutive National League Central crown and third-straight League Championship Series appearance.
But as Chicago ran into the buzzsaw that was the Los Angeles Dodgers, Maddon drew criticism once again. After seemingly endorsing his coaching staff for their performance, the Cubs promptly dismissed three coaches, including hitting coach John Mallee and pitching coach Chris Bosio.
Heading into 2018, where do things stand with Maddon? Is he ready for a decade-plus run at Wrigley is the clock ticking for the 64-year-old Chicago skipper?