Chicago Cubs: Setting the record straight
Let’s be clear: Maddon is unquestionably one of the greatest managers in Cubs history. He ranks first among Cubs managers in terms of winning percentage in the modern era. After Friday’s win over the Pirates, Maddon has 466 wins with the Cubs, the fifth-most in team history. Most notably, he was on the bench for the first championship since 1908.
He has also overseen a roster that has dealt with a number of internal changes in recent years.
The Cubs have had a new pitching coach and hitting instructor in each of the last two seasons. Epstein and Jed Hoyer have failed to improve on one of the worst farm systems in the MLB. And most of their free-agent signings in recent years have been utter disasters.
Yu Darvish is beginning to provide merit to the massive contract that he received last winter. But that has hardly made up for signings like Brandon Morrow (who had one-half of a spectacular season but has not pitched since last July) Drew Smyly, Brian Duensing, Daniel Descalso, Brad Brach, Tony Barnette and Xavier Cedeno (subscription required).
The narrative that Maddon has failed the Cubs might be unfair considering a lack of substantial upgrades in crucial areas (like the bullpen) and a myriad of injuries and other factors that have played into Chicago’s struggles this season.