Chicago Cubs: Maddon did some of his best work this year
Joe Maddon, it would seem, is not wanted back after 2019. While Epstein has made it clear he is confident in Maddon and wants him back next season, his inaction in giving Maddon an extension also makes it clear that Epstein has other plans in 2020 and beyond.
While that’s all well and good, and may work out just fine for the Chicago Cubs’ future plans and aspirations, it’s also a very slippery slope that seems fraught with danger right now. Maddon is unquestionably the best Cubs’ manager in most fans’ lifetimes. He is also unequivocally one of the best managers in baseball right now.
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Sure, he’s idiosyncratic and expensive, but he has been worth every penny. He is a vehement defender of his players, knows how to push the right buttons to get the most out of them and helped to foster one of the best clubhouse atmospheres in all of baseball.
Maddon has guided the Cubs to a 387-261 regular season record, with 19 more wins in the postseason over the past four years. He steered the ship superbly this past season despite numerous injuries, failed free agent acquisitions and off-field distractions.
Sure, most of us would love to see him stick to a set lineup a bit more often, but statistics show that everyone in baseball does this same kind of thing in the modern game, and it has often helped the Cubs to have depth and freshness when injuries or long stretches of games arise.
Maddon keeps guys loose, expects them to play hard and has gotten successful results more often than not in his brief run as Cubs skipper. In short, he has enabled a positive atmosphere for the young core of this Chicago Cubs team to flourish and progress, while allowing veterans to lead by example. Ultimately, I put very little blame on Maddon for what transpired at the end of the 2018 season.