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.