Joe Maddon returns to Los Angeles Angels as new manager
It looks like he's going to finish where he started.
Joe Maddon's professional career began in 1976, when he was a minor-league catcher in the California Angels' system.
He went on to coach and manage in the minors and majors through 2005, leaving the Anaheim Angels after the 2005 season to manage the Tampa Bay Rays and then the Cubs.
Now, rather fittingly, Maddon is back where it all began, with the Los Angeles Angels.
On Wednesday, the 65-year-old Maddon agreed to a contract -- reportedly for three years and $12 million -- to manage the Angels.
"We are thrilled that Joe is coming back home and bringing an exciting brand of baseball to our fans," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. "Every stop he has made throughout his managerial career he has built a culture that is focused on winning while also allowing his players to thrive. We believe Joe will be a great asset for our club and look forward to him leading the team to another World Series championship."
Maddon will be formally introduced as Angels manager next week.
"Everyone wants to know strategies and hit-and-runs and bullpen management and lineups and all that stuff, but it starts with relationships," Maddon said Wednesday on KLAA-AM 830, the Angels' flagship radio station. "I already had that built. I loved the idea of working with (owner) Arte (Moreno) and (club president) John (Carpino) and Billy. And that's where it began."
The Cubs and Maddon parted ways at the end of the regular season. In five years as manager, he guided the Cubs to four straight playoff appearances (2015-18). The Cubs won the World Series in 2016, snapping a 108-year run of futility.
Maddon was 471-339-1 during the regular season as Cubs manager. His .581 winning percentage ranks second in franchise history behind Frank Chance (768-389, .664).
In 14 years managing the Cubs and Rays, Maddon was 1,225-1,044 with eight postseason berths.
Never one to back down from a challenge, Maddon is entering a seemingly less than ideal situation in Los Angeles.
While the Angels arguably have the best player in baseball -- Mike Trout -- they have not been to the playoffs since 2014 and haven't won a postseason game since 2009.
L.A. was 72-90 this season, and Brad Ausmus was fired after only one year as manager.
According to the Los Angeles Times, federal agents have interviewed at least six current or former players as part of their investigation into the death of starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Before Los Angeles opened a series against the Rangers in Texas this season, Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1.
Opioids fentanyl and oxycodone were found in Skaggs' system, along with alcohol.
The Angels do have Trout, two-way star Shohei Ohtani and outfielder Jo Adell, one of the top prospects in baseball.
Los Angeles also has money to spend and is viewed as the early favorite to land free-agent starting pitcher Gerrit Cole this winter.
"If you look at it, there's no getting around it," Maddon said. "If the pitching gets better, the win-loss record is going to get better. Arte has never been worried about spending money. There are a lot of great plans in store."
The Cubs have already interviewed five candidates to replace Maddon as manager.
Mark Loretta was first up, followed by Joe Girardi, David Ross, Will Venable and Joe Espada. Gabe Kapler also is scheduled to be interviewed.