Joe Maddon was the perfect fit for the Chicago Cubs heading into the 2015 season. Ready to bring his forward-thinking, player-focused energy to a big market, he came to a franchise ready to reinvent itself after generations of misfortune and disappointment.
He delivered in a big way, leading the Cubs to 97 regular season wins and a surprise run to the NLCS that year before finishing the job the following season with a World Series title - but, from there, it felt like his popularity steadily waned before a late season collapse in 2019 spelled the end of his time in Chicago.
Maddon soon after joined the Angels and put together two-plus pretty uninspiring years at the helm, going 157-172 before Perry Minasian showed him the door. Since then, Maddon wrote a book and has laid waste to the power balance between front offices and managers in the game today, shifting significantly in favor of the former.
Those musings are exactly what Maddon suspects has kept his phone from ringing the last couple years, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
"Maddon thinks he knows the answer, and suspects it has nothing to do with his performance in the dugout. Instead, he thinks general managers were turned off by the memoir he wrote with Tom Verducci and his willingness to speak out about creeping interference from front offices into clubhouses, specifically in Anaheim where he was fired in the summer of 2022."- John Romano, TB Times
I wouldn't go so far as to say Maddon's scorched earth policy on the state of the game today is the only reason he isn't being considered - but it surely hasn't done him any favors.
Joe Maddon made history with the Cubs, but his time has passed
The fact is he's almost 70 and the game has, by and large, skewed younger in managerial hires in recent years, has to be taken into account. He hasn't put together what would be considered a successful season since 2017 (because in 2018, the Cubs crashed late and lost to the Rockies in the Wild Card Game at home, despite a 95-win regular season).
So it's been a half-decade or more since he delivered on the end goals of the team that employed him - and, as Cubs fans are accutely aware, the game continues to evolve at an ever-quickening pace.
The simple truth seems to be that Maddon's time is past and we'd all be better off accepting that and stop looking in the rearview mirror. Appreciate what he did in his career, especially in Chicago, and move on.