Maddon on leaving Cubs: I didn't want to be back, either

Departed Cubs manager Joe Maddon had some interesting comments in the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday.

While he appeared to have an amiable split from the Cubs, Maddon already seems to be much happier as the Angels' new manager.

“I didn't know how the end of the season with the Cubs was going to work out,” Maddon said. “Everyone thinks they knew, but they didn't, and I didn't either. When it got down to the last couple days it was really obvious to both sides.

“I didn't want to be back, either. It was more of a bilateral than a unilateral decision.”

Maddon said he spoke to his replacement, David Ross, on Sunday. That was the day before the ex-catcher was formally introduced as Cubs manager at Wrigley Field.

“We had a great conversation,” said Maddon, who guided the Cubs to the playoffs four times in five seasons, including the 2016 World Series championship. “I love that David's there. I love David. I think he's going to do a great job actually, and I love a lot of the players there.

“I got more thought-provoking, tear-provoking outreach from some Cubs players at the end of this season than I've ever gotten before.”

Maddon obviously heard all of the talk at Monday's press conference about Ross bringing needed accountability and energy to the Cubs' dugout.

“All these semantics and descriptions, I don't necessarily agree with all that,” Maddon said. “We'll see how it all works out. But I'm really into David being really successful.”

Darvish update:

As expected, starting pitcher Yu Darvish will not opt out of the remainder of his contract with the Cubs.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman was the first to report the news Thursday.

Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract with the Cubs before the 2018 season.

The right-hander, 33, was 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in his first year while making only 8 starts due to injuries.

Darvish was much better this season, going 6-8 with a 3.98 ERA and 229 strikeouts in 178.2 innings over 31 starts.

By staying with the Cubs instead of becoming a free agent, Darvish is owed $81 million over the next four years.

Free agent watch:

Nick Castellanos, Ben Zobrist, Cole Hamels, Xavier Cedeno, Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, Jonathan Lucroy and Pedro Strop all declared for free agency Thursday.

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