Maddux first left the Cubs for free agency in 1993 (after winning his first of four straight Cy Young Awards), and then left again when he was traded to the Dodgers in 2006 (Cesar Izturis, woot woot). And now, as a special assistant to former General Manager Jim Hendry, Maddux’s future with the organization is uncertain.
Maddux, who described his job as “help[ing] Jim with anything he wanted help with, which wasn’t much,” says he’s not worried about how Hendry’s departure will affect him. And he’s not sure he wants to return to a special assistant role with the Cubs next year anyway.
“I don’t know [if I'll be back next year], and I would feel the same way if Jim was still there now,” Maddux said. “I’m just trying to get my feet wet and figure out what I want to do in my post-baseball career.”
Tom Ricketts has tried to reach out to Maddux, but the two have been playing phone tag, according to Maddux. His contract with the team expires in December.
Now, setting aside the sentimentality associated with Maddux being a part of the Cubs’ organization, I’m not really sure how much practical impact he had on the farm system or on Jim Hendry’s decisions. Maddux worked part-time, touring the system when his schedule allowed, and offering input when asked. There’s no doubt that few know the game better than Maddux, but it was never made abundantly clear just what value he was bringing to the organization.
Is it better to have him on board than not? Absolutely. Do I hope he stays on board in some role under the next GM? I really do.
Is it going to be as crushing to the organization as the first time he left the Cubs (or even the second)? Nah.