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. Robbo

    Latest report is that Tito Francona spoke with Theo today and could be at the top of the list for Cubs.

    We are still not sure what effect MLB’s proposed ban on chewing tobacco will have on Tito’s performance.

    1. TWC

      There is *no way* that Theo gets hired to manage the Cubs.  Zero chance.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Your right there is *no way* Theo get hired to manage the Cubs.

        Sorry is it too soon for me to be snarky?

        1. MichiganGoat

          Hell no TWC needs some snark in order to survive

        2. Ian Afterbirth

          TWC invites snark.

          1. TWC

            Nay, I *demand* snark.

  2. CubNuts23

    Hey Cub Lovers!  Long time reader and first time poster.  First of all thank you for the opportunity to dwell with you all in Cubbyville.  Second,  my 2 cents are that Maddux gives us the best chance to focus on our biggest weakness (pitching) and keep younger bro around who could very well end up being one of the best pitching coaches in the game in time. Also the thought of Tito scares me.  If he can’t control that band of prima donna’s in Boston imagine the melt down when he has to coach ours….Soriano, Zambrano, Marmol, Castro etc…….  Thanks again!

  3. JasonB

    Operating under the assumption that Greg Maddux still does not want a full time job, I would think he could make a great advanced scout?  Very few could break down a hitter’s weaknesses like he could.  I think they typically travel but with the technology that we have today, couldn’t he be pretty productive from the office?  Seems like the most logical fit given his current desire to be home for his family.

  4. rocky8263

    I remember Mike Maddux’s cowboy kinda walk to the mound with a just ok Brewers staff and he always seemed to push the right buttons. Made me think of Dave Duncan and why Larry Rothschild couldn’t do the same thing.

  5. Runningcub

    Hey! I’m a new commentator and have been a long time reader. It seems I’m not the only reader becoming a commentator today:). I think that in a perfect world the Cubs would sign maddux as the manager, and convince the other maddux to be the pitching coach. However, if the Cubs sign Francona, and I think they will I wont Be too disappointed. I understand what you mean by creating a red sox 2.0, but personally I could care less if that’s what it took to win.

    1. MichiganGoat

      I think we need to create a BNV badge or something, welcome.

      1. Ron

        I have a suggestion….

  6. Kerf

    Seems like Mike Maddux would make the most sense with his ability to make an immediate impact on the pitching staff. Are there any other names floating around with his type of resume regarding turning mediocre pitching staffs around?

  7. NL_Cubs

    IMO the short, shorter, shortest list is:

    Maddux

    Sveum

     

  8. Lou
  9. johnbres2

    I am finding myself really pulling for Maddux, while at the same time fully behind whoever Theo/Jed pick. However, it seems extremely unlikely that Greg would become pitching coach. I just can’t see that. If Greg wanted to get into coaching, wouldn’t he have done so already?

    1. Katie

      Maybe his brother becoming manager is just the push he needs.

      Welcome newbies!

  10. die hard

    Anyone agreeing to be mgr better ask for 5 yr contract because this ship wont begin to turn around til then given our poor pitching, no defense, poor situational hitting and now no power without Aram and Pena. If we win more than 65 games in 2012 and 2013, would be a success

  11. Sweetjamesjones

    I love this influx of newbies. I remember finding this site at work while the whole Matt Garza trade was going on.

    This site has changed my life.

    Seeing as that I check this site multiple times during the day and is the first site I go to whenever I get on the internets.

    Still I’m hoping for the first ever BN Meet and Greet for openIng day 2012!

    Oh and I’m leaning towards Maddux as the Cubs coaching choice.

    Damn good time to be a fan.

  12. Dan

    I would want the Rays bench coach, he would be perfect