Chicago Cubs: Healthy arms and letting Joe be Joe
The next thing on Maddon’s wish list is a pitching rotation that can pitch deep into ballgames – we’re talking seventh, eighth inning. He knows with a staff that can go that deep he can work batters, the counts and play chess to the ninth. There hasn’t been much talk about changing the rotation up and Maddon seems to be be looking at roughly the same cast of pitching characters as last season: Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Mike Montgomery and Cole Hamels. The only unknown is Yu Darvish.
If Darvish can come out hot then it may be just a matter of working out some kinks with the rest. Just remember that Maddon is getting basically 90 percent of exactly what he had last year. The Cubs were third in MLB in pitching, right behind Los Angeles and Houston. Could Darvish lift them to number one or two?
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Despite what we’ve heard from Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, maybe Santa will bring Maddon the news that his media and public fun/slapstick routine can continue next season.
Let’s face it, Maddon is unique and so is his approach. To change that about the Cubs manager is like making him as boring as the dozen managers in the league that aren’t even winners. Maddon thrives on this stuff like all creative geniuses throughout the world.
This guy has even adapted his decision-making process full circle to be able to explain or at least talk-around his actions on the field, his motives and decisions to a hungry media crowd ready for every spoonful Maddon can provide them. He knows he will have to answer to the media posse why he put Edwards back in or took Hendricks out in the fifth inning, while still trying to win a ball game.
This isn’t something Maddon can just turn off and he knows it, which is why Santa may just have to bail him out and let him back into his self-created media circus in 2019. And, if so, maybe, just maybe we’ll see another Maddon-sponsored magician, as well.