Chicago Cubs: Joe Maddon says he knew he didn’t want to come back

Joe Maddon / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Joe Maddon / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Joe Maddon / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Last season, Maddon knew he was ready to move on

The three-time Manager of the Year sat down with Alden Gonzalez of ESPN ahead of camp opening for Los Angeles to talk about returning to the organization he grew up in and, of course, leaving the Cubs.

Maddon noted there were plenty of factors at play, most notably a more heavy-handed approach from Epstein and the Chicago front office. His leash seemingly grew shorter over the final two years of his contract – and it didn’t go unnoticed.

"“Philosophically, Theo needed to do what he needed to do separately. At some point, I began to interfere with his train of thought a little bit. And it’s not that I’m hardheaded. I’m inclusive. But when I started there — ’15, ’16, ’17 — it was pretty much my methods. And then all of a sudden, after ’18 going into ’19, they wanted to change everything.”"

Of course, the Cubs turned in an epic September collapse over the final weeks of the 2018 season, eventually seeing the Milwaukee Brewers come out on top in a winner-take-all Game 163 at Wrigley Field before losing the aforementioned Wild Card Game. It was the first real ‘failure’ of the Maddon era – and everyone felt the pressure.

There’s no doubt – Maddon was the guy for the job heading into 2015. He had a longstanding history of getting the most out of young players and pushing them to new heights. But by 2019, the mood had soured and it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ when discussing his departure.