Is Maddon's job secure? Status report perplexes Cubs manager

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon watches his team during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Chicago. The Cubs keep winning through everything that knocks some contenders out of the playoff race. Credit one of the majors' deepest rosters, but manager Joe Maddon also is pushing all the right buttons as Chicago tries to close out its third consecutive NL Central title.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon watches his team during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Chicago. The Cubs keep winning through everything that knocks some contenders out of the playoff race. Credit one of the majors' deepest rosters, but manager Joe Maddon also is pushing all the right buttons as Chicago tries to close out its third consecutive NL Central title.

 
 
Updated 8/29/2018 6:41 AM

Let's put something into perspective.

Entering Tuesday, three Chicago Cubs managers had winning percentages of .600 or better with the team: Albert Spalding, Frank Chance and … Joe Maddon.

 

Spalding and Chance are in the Hall of Fame, and one day Maddon will join them, for his work with both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cubs.

So it seemed silly Tuesday that Chicago media members found themselves grilling Maddon about his job status, as if that should be in doubt.

Maddon's five-year contract with the Cubs runs through the 2019 season, but a report this week in USA Today said "there are whispers his job could be in jeopardy if they don't play deep into October."

People in the Cubs organization have denied that. On the previous homestand, team president Theo Epstein said the appropriate time to discuss a contract extension for Maddon would be this coming off-season, when Maddon would be entering a lame-duck season.

"I don't get it," Maddon said of the USA Today story. "I don't understand it. It's very uninteresting to me. I'm under contract. I'm very happy with what I'm doing. When the time is appropriate, I'm sure we'll discuss it further. I really don't understand that."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Maddon said he indeed would like to come back on a contract extension.

"Of course I want to come back, but it doesn't matter to me when it's resolved," he said. "I mean that sincerely. I'm not concerned about that stuff. I've always believed when you work in a situation here with the quality people we work with, you rely on them to make that decision when it's the appropriate time.

"I don't even think about it. If you guys don't ask this question, I swear to you I haven't even thought about it once."

We'll argue here that this is the best job of managing Maddon has done in his four seasons with the Cubs.

He led an upstart bunch of young Cubs to a wild-card berth in 2015 and into the National League championship series. That earned Maddon the Manager of the Year award. A hungry and determined 2016 club won the franchise's first World Series since 1908, which in an of itself should cement Maddon's legacy.

Last year's club suffered from a "World Series hangover" and stumbled out of the gate before righting itself and returning to the NLCS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

This year Maddon has had to deal with 40 percent of his starting rotation either being ineffective (Tyler Chatwood) or injured (highly paid Yu Darvish). Closer Brandon Morrow has appeared in only 35 games because of injury, and star third baseman Kris Bryant is on the disabled list for a second stint.

Maddon made do with inexperienced relievers in the first half before Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer fortified the bullpen with veterans during the season.

The Manager of the Year award often goes to the manager of a surprise or up-and-coming team, so Atlanta's Brian Snitker may be the favorite. But Maddon deserves strong consideration.

He did flash some pride Tuesday at how he paid his dues to get where he's at today. He started out in Idaho Falls of the Pioneer League in 1981, then made stops in Salem, Peoria and Midland before getting the title of interim manager of the California Angels in 1996.

Maddon flashed that pride while saying he does not begrudge managers who get to the big leagues without serving that kind of apprenticeship.

"Knowing what I've done to get to this particular juncture, I'm really happy that it took me as long to get to this point as it did, meaning I think I started managing in the big leagues (full time) when I was 51 years old," he said. "I needed all that time to really feel like I was prepared for a lot of different situations as opposed to never having done it.

"It's somewhat insulting, not just to me, but guys who have been through this whole process. For many years, you really felt like you had to work your way up through a system as a coach, as a manager, scout, whatever. Eventually, you worked your way to the major leagues as a coach and then get this opportunity to manage based on the service you provided. That's not the way it is anymore. It's just not.

"I have no ill feeling toward anybody."

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.