Obsessive New Manager Watch: Cubs Granted Permission to Interview Mike Maddux (UPDATE: Francona Remains a Possibility)

Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux was heavily mentioned during the initial round of speculation on managerial candidates for the Chicago Cubs’ open gig, and not without good reason: he’s one of the Cubs’ targets.

Today, the Texas Rangers granted the Cubs (and Boston Red Sox, grumble) permission to interview Maddux for their managerial opening. Of the permission, Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels said, “Mike is in a key role for us and has had a prominent hand in our success the past few years. But this is a unique opportunity to discuss a coveted position with two storied franchises, and we believe in allowing our people to pursue opportunities that they’re interested in. It reflects well both on Mike and our organization that he’s under consideration.”

Maddux, 50, has been the Rangers’ pitching coach for the last three years – a span in which the Rangers’ pitching staff has improved dramatically in a ballpark in which it is difficult to do so – after serving six years in the same role with the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s no coincidence that, when Daniels got his footing in Arlington, he went after Maddux. Suffice it to say, the man is very well-regarded around baseball.

Before coaching, Maddux was a long-time pitcher in Major League baseball, pitching for 10 teams over 15 years.

And, as you no doubt know, Mike Maddux is the older brother of former/maybe current Cubs’ special assistant Greg Maddux.

Keeping Greg Maddux in the organization is a goal unto itself, and one that is borne not of sentimentality – which was largely the case for Ryne Sandberg as manager – but instead one borne of a desire to have the best and brightest involved in the Cubs’ organization. No one knows baseball quite like Greg Maddux. Whatever role he’s willing to take, he can have. And if hiring Mike Maddux could ensure his younger brother sticks around – or, wonderfully, takes on a more full-time role – that’s certainly not an asset that can completely be ignored. That’s particularly true if there’s a chance Greg would consider serving as Mike’s pitching coach, as a source told Gordon Wittenmyer he would.

But, importantly, according to most pundits, the elder Maddux is an excellent candidate for the Cubs on his own merits. A commitment from Greg would simply be the icing on the cake.

Maddux would presumably interview some time after Phillies’ bench coach Pete Mackanin, who is expected to interview as early as today. Hopefully the Cubs and Red Sox don’t get into a fight about who gets to interview Maddux first.

UPDATE: Today the Cubs’ confirmed that Mackanin and Maddux would be their first two interviews, and that former Red Sox manager Terry Francona could be considered if it’s a “fit.” There would be no need to interview Francona. As expected, the Cubs are also considering Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum, and Indians’ bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. I’d say you’ve got your short list right there. I expect there to be a great deal more written about this soon.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

128 responses to “Obsessive New Manager Watch: Cubs Granted Permission to Interview Mike Maddux (UPDATE: Francona Remains a Possibility)”

  1. Fishin Phil

    Come on Boys!  Let’s land another one!

    Damn, I am getting friggin excited again!

  2. Aaron

    I think Maddux makes sense, due to the need to bolster our pitching department.

  3. Spencer

    Want. But only if he’s played Minor League baseball.

  4. Bails17

    Do you think that the statements made by Daniels is taking a shot at the Red Sox a bit.  Kind of a coincidence right?!

  5. Larry

    I like Maddux as a possible manager. He looked like he might have been doing more than what might be considered traditional pitching coach duties during the series for the Rangers. If it means keeping Gregg in the organizaiton, that has to be a plus, even if not as pitching coach. It seems like numerous young pitchers have said that they have learned alot just talking with Gregg. From all indications, he readily passes on knowledge of the game to youngsters willing to listen.

    1. LARRY

      Sorry, this is LARRY, not my other brother, Larry.

  6. Todd

    Would be a solid choice. From the list of candidates, the only two I wouldn’t be excited about are Francona (because I think he’s exhausted) and that dude from the Phillies that you did a piece on earlier.

    edit: I also don’t want Francona because I agree with Brett’s sentiment of giving this makeover a Cub uniqueness.

    1. Steve

      LOL @ “Cub uniqueness”. With a new president, new GM, new manager, and a roster that, maybe, might be mildly recognizable as compared to 2011…I’d say that any chance for “Cub uniqueness” has been flushed.

      1. Todd

        It would provide a unique “wrinkle” in the managerial hierarchy from the Red Sox team. I don’t want a “cut and paste” approach that would undoubtedly fuel commentary taking away from the Cubs’ accomplishments, if they were able to develop into a baseball powerhouse that routinely makes the playoffs (winning multiple World Series, of course).

        1. Lou

          I think Francona would be a managerial “band-aid.” Clearly, since Theo’s not into band-aiding this team with players, why band-aid with Francona? Just my two cents.

  7. Hawkeye

    On a side note, any thoughts as to how much of all this stuff Theo is handling instead of Jed?   During Jed’s press conference, I noticed Theo interject a few times to field some questions.  Theo was also the person to fly to Florida to talk to Quade about being let go.   The statement issued about releasing Quade was released from Theo.  Theo was the guy that called Greg Maddux to let him down softly.

    Is this just a case of allowing Jed get his feet wet slowly (because Theo has all of 7 more days expereince with the Cubs than Jed)?   I just wondered if anybody else thought all this was interesting?  Maybe I am reading to much into it.   Either McLeod or Hoyer (I can’t remember who) mentioned at the Press Conference how much autonomy Theo gave them.   They have all worked together before so its not like they didn’t know what they were getting into with Theo.

    Mind you, I have no problem how they choose to handle any of these things or their front office, as long as we get results.   I guess in my mind, I just thought we would hear a lot less from Theo.   I thought he was trying to get away from the day to day grind.  To me that meant we would not hear as much from him publically.  That he would be the mastermind pulling the strings, with Jed being the “day to day” guy handling different situations as well as the media. 

    Thoughts from the gallery?

    1. Fishin Phil

      My guess is that once they get things set up the way they want, Theo will then step back a little.  Right now things are moving so fast they need everybody involved.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        My guess exactly. Was going to say the same thing.

      2. JasonB

        Theo could also be taking the reigns on the managerial search because Boston appears to have been undertaking a pretty thorough evaluation of managerial candidates anyway.  The logic could be that he has a firmer grasp on the current list of candidates than Hoyer.

    2. CubFan Paul

      he stayed ‘comfortable’ and hired his ‘yes-men’ in my opinion

      1. hansman1982

        well his yes men got him 2 WS Rings and perennial 90 win teams so I dont give a flying rats ass if he hires his cousin and they do it every day

        1. Wilbur

          Well stated …

        2. Shawn

          Well, if Theo hired his cousin it would be evidence he has learned the “Chicago Way”.

    3. Todd

      I’m guessing that Theo is handling the PR/admin stuff while Jed is focusing more on the operational turnover. I think Theo will always be the “face” of the front office.

      1. MichiganGoat

        My thoughts as well

    4. Hawkeye

      I guess only time will tell.  I am just surprise that Jed would uproot from San Deigo (especially after the comments about being bad timing for his family) to come and be a yes man.  It is almost as if he maintaned the same title, but has less responsibilities.

  8. Hogie

    I still don’t think it feels right to have Francona on board. I would like to see a championship, but I would really like to see a Cubs championship, not a BoSox championship in the city of Chicago. Francona as manager would make this seem like some old boys club… it just feels icky.

    1. Hawkeye

      Agree 100% with Hogie.   We can copy the Red Sox model to an extent, but to much and it becomes a Red Sox title housed in Chicago.

    2. SalukiHawk

      This is asinine. I don’t care if the buy the entire Yankees roster for $500,000,000 and staple Cubs patches over their Yankee pinstripes. We haven’t won in 104 years now and you, let me get this straight, are concerned about HOW we go about winning it. Bringing a system of success with the right people to run it….who cares what label you slap on it?

      And as I am sipping my champagne after we win the 2014 World Series, I don’t care if Theo forgets himself and wears a BoSox hat to the clubhouse party.

      I don’t think we are in a position to be too picky. Good moves are good moves.

      1. Hawkeye

        There is something to be said about creating something on your own as opposed to just buying a title.   I do care what label we slap on it.   We will have to agree to disagree on this one.   I want to do this the Cubs way…not the Yankee way.

        1. Laura

          Hogie & Hawkeye, I agree with your thoughts exactly. Another reason I don’t want Francona is that I’m tired of all the Great Ones coming here to die. There’s something to be said about going out on a high note, when it’s time to give it a rest. I’m ready for someone fresh.

          S-Hawk, I get the frustration, but slapping Cubs patches on the Yankees is really just the Yankees winning again. Where’s the challenge in that? It would be like Bobby Fischer winning a game of chess over a toddler.

          Also, does anyone else think that Mike Maddux looks like Frank Zappa…?

          1. Cubbie Blues

            I was thinking David Feherty.

  9. Deer

    I’m intrigued by Francona, but not sure I can stomach watching him with that giant piece of chew in his mouth at all times.

  10. Cubbie Blues

    Hi, new here. I think getting the Maddux brothers would be the best option available. I don’t thing we can get Maddon. Black is out (no more padres). There is already one Sox team in Chicago so I don’t want to see Francona coming over.

    On another note… I can’t remember ever being this excited about the Cubs in November ever.

    1. hansman1982

      Agree, even last winter when we were getting a manager who had a terrific tear at the end of the season I still wasnt excited – it was more like, well Q did do a good job so maybe he is a good manager.  Now it is excitement central

  11. johnbres2

    I like the Mike Maddux idea a lot. The Cubs best chance to compete the next couple years is pitching (admittedly, still not a very good chance), and so it makes sense to try to get as much out of our pitching staff as we can. Mike Maddux obviously would have a great handle on that. I love the idea of having the manager be a guy who was a ML pitcher and pitching coach.

    1. Hawkeye

      Do we hold the inside track if the Cubs and Red Sox come knocking on Mike Maddux’s door at the same time.  I think it would be great if they both offered a manager job to him and he left the Red Sox at the alter.   I suppose Boston would want some kind of compensation for that as well.

      1. hansman1982

        Latest word is that they are wanting Soto, Cashner, Garza, Soriano’s Hop and Ramirez’s Silver Slugger Award just because we thought about asking permission to interview Maddux.

        1. Luke

          Ssshhh…. Don’t give Boston any ideas. Next thing you know they’ll be asking for the recipe for deep dish pizza and insisting that Chicago dogs be made with baked beans…

      2. Lou

        Forget Boston. That organization has lost whatever class it had with me.

  12. LARRY

    If you think you’re excited now, just wait until football ends.  How many days until pitchers report?

  13. SosaCrackers

    Long time reader, first time poster. I figured this offseason is as good a time as any to get involved in the discussion. I personally hope that Maddux is the Cubs next skipper.

  14. Cubbie_Blue_13

    I agree 100 percent i hope we get Mike Maddux and possibly Gregg. I would hope Rudy stays, then we would have all the right people to move forward and bring in players who are willing to work hard and learn from the best, i also on another note hope the cubs pick up omar vizquel, he could help castro and barney and could also give them a day off once in a while. Anyone else agree?

  15. Vinestal

    I’d love to see them go with Maddux, the idea of seeing both brothers in the dugout makes me giddy, though it would probably not happen right away. it makes a great deal of sense for a variety of reasons. it’s going to be an interesting managerial search for sure.

    1. johnbres2

      giddy indeed. So far, all our giddiness has been justified!

  16. Vinestal

    I wonder who Mike would want as a bench coach?

  17. Miguel Ramirez

    Okay I’ve picked up the pieces of my brain off the moon and I’m liking a few of these names on the short list. Mike Maddux would be a good hire. I’ll never forget him pitching against Greg at Wrigley and after getting Greg out on a ground ball Greg ran back across the mound and messed up his footing on the mound. How awsome would that be to work with your brother in the bigs! What a dream.

  18. Dave H

    I am joining the Maddux bandwagon. My only question is, will Rudy J be the hitting coach to make it balance out the equation so to speak? Bench coach would still be Listach. Do you want to keep ID and BD as coaches also. Is there better Infielding coaches to look at? Can Rudy get some people to hit with RISP?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Maddux joined the Rangers after the ’08 season. Rudy left after ’08. Was there any overlap? If so how did anyone know how they got along?

      1. Dave H

        Yes you are correct. My wonder is that with a pitching minded manager, will they retain the “best” hitting coach (as billed when the cubs hired him). Does Theo want to keep him? I think Rudy is still a good fit. Sandberg would fit as bench coach as well. He could improve fielding also.

        Side note: DeRosa is available again for 3rd right?

        1. SosaCrackers

          As much as I miss DeRosa I can’t see him coming back to the Cubs. At this point in his career he’s just an older Jeff Baker.

        2. Cubbie Blues

          Sandberg won’t be a good fit other than Manager. As stated before the first losing streak and everyone will be clamming for a management change.

          As for 3rd… Anyone other than DeJesus. I never liked his calls on holds and sends. The only ones he ever got right were with Campana and I don’t think he would hold up given a slight chance of scoring.

          1. Dave H

            I agree with third. I’d love to see Shawon come back or some one like that. Sandberg is a toss up though. With a manager like Maddux, you have a solid manager. You have a stable front office. If everything is right though. I can’t see anyone giving him a shot at the manager’s position without being on someone’s mlb staff.

    2. Luke

      I’d like to see either the first or third base coach be the best middle infield instructor they can find. If that’s Sandberg, great. If it isn’t, that’s fine too, so long as they get an awesome middle infield instructor to keep working with the young DP combo of Castro and (probably) LeMahieu. It could be they best they can find is already on the job now; that’s fine too. Just make sure he is the best around.

  19. Aaron

    I think Theo is leaving the Francona thing open just to mess back with the Cards, yet doesn’t really want him.

    From Muskat’s blog: “This doesn’t need to be the Boston show recreated in Chicago completely. I think for my growth as an executive, maybe it’s the right thing to work with a new manager, maybe for Tito’s growth as a manager it’s better to work with a new boss. As I mentioned when I left Boston, you don’t want to live in the past. Eight years, 10 years is a long time to be at one place and with the same dynamics.”

    1. Spencer

      I hope that this is the case.

      1. Aaron

        Look down on the comments here though… looks like ESPN is reporting something a little different. Says Theo is going to sit down with Tito and see if it will fit. Sounds like he’s still considering him with statements like that. Based off Theo’s direct form of management, he wouldn’t give Tito the chance if he weren’t in the picture at all.

        Of course, then again, this could all be bait for STL.

  20. SosaCrackers

    I wouldn’t be surprised either way if Rudy is on the team next year. He has a great reputation, but really hasn’t shown anything at all in Chicago so far.

    1. Kansas Cubs Fan

      Slowdown with the “hasn’t shown anything in Chicago yet” stuff He’s a Coach not a hitter he can only do so much.

  21. MrCub73

    I have been on the Maddux bandwagon for two or three weeks now, I am sure hoping he is the guy. Although, this comment from Epstein makes me wonder if Fancona does not have a much better shot at this job than has been reported. Epstein said of Francona, “We’re going to kind of sit down together and make sure it’s a fit.” I have long questioned the dismissal of Francona if Epstein was the guy who let him go in Boston, if Theo already had Chicago on his mind, that Theo could have planned on brining Francona in as manager from before day 1 actually started. If Francona was the guy he wanted in Chicago, then what better way than convincing the Red Sox not to pick up his option in Boston. The story originally said Francona was burnt out, but now he has talked to Theo and is interviewing for the Cardinals job, which will go to Oquendo.

    I want to see Mike Maddux running the show in Chicago and hopefully Greg will come along for the ride as pitching coach. I am not a fan of bringing in Mackanin. Even at their current ages, the Maddux brothers could have been better options in 4 and 5 spots in the Cubs rotation then the Cubs used last year. The rotation really stunk up the place. I would love the see Maddux get the gig and then after convincing Greg to join him, he convinces CJ Wilson to join him in Chicago as well.

  22. Spencer

    Article on the front of ESPN.com confirming from Epstein that Tito is a top candidate. If that happens and the Cubs sign him, I am going to be severely disappointed. The front office already looks like a Midwest version of Boston, we don’t need their manager too. There’s a reason they went 7-20 in September, and he ADMITTED that he lost control of the players and the ball club. Epstein is great, but enough is enough of recycling his old playmates.

    1. SosaCrackers

      I hope not, the Cubs need their own legacy.

    2. Toosh

      Sounds like Francona is the top choice of whoever’s in charge of hiring a manager for the Cubs. Translate “if it’s a fit” to “The job is his if he wants it”.

  23. John

    I think the problem with Rudy is that there is no consistentcy from the Majors to the Minors. We need batting taught the “Cubs way.”

    1. Fishin Phil

      You mean swinging at sliders that bounce two feet outside?

      Oh wait… you mean the new “Cubs Way”.

      1. Dave H

        And watching a fastball go right down the middle of the plate….

  24. bhannon

    maddux brothers in the same dugout would sure get me excited-but i agree w/ brett in that w/e theo chooses i’ll be ok with….bc frankly im a junior in college and hes the president of the cubs…plus he’s won 2 world series…so he’ll get my benefit of the doubt for a while

  25. ACS

    Maddux brothers hey hey!!!

  26. die hard

    By the time the Cubs are through paying compensation for raiding other clubs of gm, manager, and other candidates, Cubs wont have any prospects left in minors to play for the new hires….Mike Maddux can still go an inning or two …player/mgr?

    1. hansman1982

      I think the San Diego compensation is going to be a Rule 5 pick similar to Josh Hamilton being traded away and Boston is not going to get anyone decent after Selig has a say in the matter and I doubt Texas gets any compensation.

  27. Cliffy

    Junior Lake is playing 3B today in the AFL, he has 1 single, 1 triple and His 16th SB, he also made an error in this game. As far as I can tell today is his first game in AFL at 3B, hes played there before in the minors. Coincidence? We have an opening in the majors I believe.

    1. JulioZuleta

      Not a chance, not yet. He’s at least a year away from the majors.

      1. Cliffy

        Tell that to Starlin Castro they are the same age. Hoyer said they want to be more athletic (speed on bases). He can be part of the solution.

        1. JulioZuleta

          I am prbably higher on Junior Lake than anyone, but his tools are way to unrefined. He has a hard time hitting off speed pitches, big league pitchers will eat him alive. It doesn’t do us any good to bring him up here and have him hit .180 or something. Let him start in AA, hopefully get to AAA in July-ish and then MAYBE be in the conversation going into 2013, but that’s even rushing it. I know they’re the same age, which just shows the type of gifted freak Castro is. He has hit .300 in the big leagues two years in a row, being the same age as another one of our top prospects who hasn’t hit .275 in AA. Crazy

        2. hansman1982

          his AA stats this year weren’t very impressive – .680 OPS and a blistering .240 BA

          Castro had a .990 OPS in AA the season he was called up and a .866 overall in AA

          Another negative is that Lake has a 24.5% K rate in the minors and that only increases when you get to the big leauges (FanGraphs (I believe it was them) recently had a post about this) and in order to be really productive you need to be hitting 30+ homers a year with that high of a K rate.

          For comparison Castro had an 11.0% K rate in the minors

          1. JulioZuleta

            Yeah, I loveeee Lake, think he has absolute superstar potential, but people are overreacting quite a bit to his recent numbers.

            1. hansman1982

              his K rate is very concerning

  28. hansman1982

    Good God I hope its not Tito – please sweet mother of baby Jesus dont let it be Tito

    Hopefully he is trying to throw Boston and StL off by these comments, maybe this is what a smart organization looks like, in the past you knew going into the hires who Hendry’s favorite (and likely hire) was

  29. Bric

    Mike Maddux’s creepy pediaphile mustache and mirrored shades belongs only in Milwaukee or Texas. Matbe Atlanta.

  30. The Big Mustafa

    Relative to the Madduxes…or Madduxi…whatever the preferred nomenclature.

    I think it was Mike Greenberg who alluded to Greg dealing with “a family matter”, which he seemed to think might take him away from things for a bit. Anyone familiar?

    Boy…I’ll tell ya…I hadn’t given it much thought, but the idea of having the Madduxes on the same bench is really intriguing.

    On the flip side…my brother and I couldn’t manage a bucket of chicken without eight hours of discussion.

    1. Internet Random

      My brother and I can manage a bucket of chicken and a six pack of stout in about an hour.  You think the Cubs are looking for that skill set?