Obsessive New Manager Watch: Mike Maddux is Today’s Interview

Texas Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux will be in for an interview with the Chicago Cubs today for their open managerial spot, after declining to interview with the Boston Red Sox.

Is that a tea leaf, or is the distance between Boston and Arlington really too great a burden on his family, whereas the distance between Chicago and Arlington is more doable? When it comes to family, you can never know for sure. There could be any number of reasons that the Boston Red Sox job didn’t feel like a “fit” for Maddux and his family, and the Chicago Cubs job might. Whatever the case, the Cubs will get a crack at Maddux today.

As with Pete Mackanin and Dale Sveum before him, Maddux, 50, will be put through the ringer of questions, scenarios, situations, quizzes, etc. from Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer. After that, if the Cubs follow the same formula, Maddux will speak to the media.

Maddux, who acquitted himself excellently as the pitching coach of the back-to-back AL Champion Rangers and, before that, the Milwaukee Brewers, is considered by many the favorite to land the Cubs’ job. That belief is built on the strength of Maddux’s professional success, presumed amenability to statistical modeling, familiarity with the NL and NL Central, and, of course, his relationship with his younger brother, Greg Maddux. It also doesn’t hurt that Epstein and Hoyer are big believers in having a strong pitching coach.

And Maddux is already picking up endorsements. It starts with his current boss, Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington.

“He cares about what he’s doing, and he cares about the people that he’s doing it with,’’ Washington, who has worked with Maddux the last three seasons, said of his pitching coach. “He does a great job of hands-on. He does a good job of directing people and helping them find their way. I think that type of quality is what has separated him from other guys that have done his job as pitching coach.” It’s easy to see how those skills would translate to the manager’s chair, loathe though Washington may be to lose Maddux as his pitching coach.

“Since I’ve been with him, he certainly has a program for all his pitchers, both starting pitchers and relievers,’’ Washington continued. “Every day he makes them accountable for making sure they’re prepared [to work] and for what may happen that day during the course of the ballgame.

“I haven’t seen many guys that decipher things and get prepared as much as Mike does, and the way the Texas Rangers have come along with the pitching staff is a testament to that.”

Current Cubs’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo worked with Maddux for one year on the Rangers’ staff in 2009, and has nothing but kind words to offer.

“He’s a teacher, and he has the ability of winning people over,’’ said Jaramillo. “When you can do that, you can be an excellent coach and an excellent manager.’’ Jaramillo added that he believes Maddux is an expert in pitcher mechanics.

Perhaps the most important endorsement of all? Mike’s brother Greg thinks he’d make a great manager.

For my part, I’d like to hear a little more from Maddux, himself, but he certainly looks like a very attractive candidate. Even if you don’t consider his brother, Maddux is an up-and-coming, highly-effective coach, with whom other big-time organizations would like to speak. The “market” isn’t perfect, but if other big boys want a shot at a certain candidate, that’s suggestive of a solid candidate about whom we can be enthused.

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

34 responses to “Obsessive New Manager Watch: Mike Maddux is Today’s Interview”

  1. Fishin Phil

    Damn, I think I like him even more now.  Theo, make it so!

    1. Luke

      I’ll second that.

      1. DRock

        I do like what I’m hearing about Maddux. He’s my first choice followed closely behind by Sveum IF he can bring Fielder with him.

  2. johnbres2

    Funny how Greg Maddux is never quoted as saying anything, anywhere.  He is a really close to the vest guy.  I would think Theo/Jed would love that.  In fact, Mike Maddux seems similarly tight-lipped.  It is not too easy to find quotes of him.  I really hope this works out.

  3. BFM

    Cubs could probably save some cash by dumping Riggings and using him as both manager and pitching coach……….ha ha!

    Maddux looks like a great fit!

    1. cccubfan

      I gotta agree with that. We need a pitching coach BAD…….

  4. Mom's A Cubs Fan

    So if Sandberg doesn’t get the Cardinals job, what are the chances of him being Bench Coach for the Cubs? Did Theo ever say no to that or just no to being Mgr?

    1. JulioZuleta

      I would say there is a 0% chance. Theo said he wouldn’t rule it out if the manager wanted him, but no one in their right mind would want to have Ryno sitting next to him on the bench at Wrigley. Before you have even managed 1 game, 60% of the city will be clamoring for you to be fired and for Ryno to take over. It would get ugly, quick.

      1. Mom's A Cubs Fan

        Yes, that’s true. Just a thought.

        1. JulioZuleta

          I love Sandberg as much as anyone, even though he was slightly before my time. But it doesn’t look like him sitting on the Cubs bench any time soon is in the cards. It’s ok though, I think the time has come for the Cubs to move away from the “family” mentality and start focusing on winning. Sometimes the Cubs and their fans have let loyalty/history cloud their good judgement.

    2. Luke

      Depending on who the manager is, I think it could happen. I’m not saying it is likely or probable, but it is possible. But it would have to be under the right manager.

      Last year, it would have been impossible. Sandberg would have dwarfed Quade, and it would have been a disaster. But there aren’t many similarities between last year and this year.

      This is now Theo’s team, and Theo is a big enough of a name and a personality to hire Sandberg into a coaching job and be applauded for it. If he has a manager (like Maddux) with an excellent track record in his own right… maybe two consecutive World Series as a pitching coach and the endorsement of a guy named Greg… I think it could work. The fans will love to see Sandberg out there, but between the Maddux factor and the reputation of Theo, I think all but the most irrational fans would take a “wait and see” approach, at worst.

      But it only happens if Sandberg is the best candidate for a slot on the coaching staff. We know that Theo wants the Cubs to be strong up the middle, and we know the Cubs will have a very young middle infield. Logically, the Cubs will want someone on the coaching staff to get the most out of Castro and LeMahieu (probably). When you look around baseball for people who fit that description, Sandberg’s name is very high on the list.

      I’m convinced that Theo would hire Tony LaRussa to lead ‘the wave’ at Wrigley if he thought it would help the team win. I don’t think he’d blink twice to green light hiring Sandberg into a coaching position.

  5. Dave H

    I think it works in Maddux’s favor with RJ still here for one more year.  Maddux family seems to be analytical in their thinking.  Good fit for Theo/Jed.  RJ would still be a good fit for hitting coach with a little history with Mike.  Now find a guy who thinks from the gut on the bench giving Mike a earful during a game.  A pitching coach who knows Mike philosophy in pitching.  And match that up with some aggressive base coaches, a pretty formidable staff is born.

  6. Aaron Taylor

    Here’s a thought of a dream team of coaches to manage the Cubs:

    1. Manager- Mike Maddux
    2. Pitching Coach- Greg Maddux
    3. Bench Coach- Ryne Sandberg

    Just a thought : )

    1. JulioZuleta

      What about Maddux for hitting coach, remember those “Chicks dig the longball” commercials he did?

  7. oswego chris

    -I still remember reading an article in Spring ’82 in the Tribune about what a great steal Ryno was, and that he could play any position on the field
    -I was at the game where he got his first hit
    -I wore 23 in high school and played 2b
    -He is probably in my top 3 of all time favorite Cubs

    BUT HE IS NOT COMING BACK….move on….get over it…he will be OK…and he is not going to get the Cardinal job(my money is on Francona)..he might be a bench coach in St. Louis or Philly…which would be just fine….let it go….

    1. Dave H

      I remember watching this guy at 3rd base and it looked as though it was all he could do to get the ball over to the other end of the diamond.  I wore 23 in basketball, everyone called me a Jordan lover. I told them it was Sandberg not Jordan.  In baseball I couldn’t wear 23, so I wore 5 for my favorite catcher (JB).  I think there has to be some “Cub way” person to become the face of that slogan.  No one better than Ryno for that.  Will it happen?  My bet would be no.  Another possibility would be his double-play cohort Dunston.  He doesn’t have the experience but a base coach would work for him.  Bench coach could still be Listach.  Maddux could be pitching coach.  His tutor may be a possibility, Mazzone.  Baltimore is starting to turn on him.

  8. Edwin

    A co-worker of mine made a good point about Maddux regarding the whole Boston/family issue. Maddux did coach for a number of years in Milwaukee, so maybe it’s more an issue of he doesn’t want to move his family to an unfamiliar area like Boston, but wouldn’t mind moving his family to an area of the Midwest that he is probably more familiar with.

  9. Cubbies4Life

    Does anyone else think it’s cool that Mike Maddux bears a striking resemblance to Frank Zappa?

    1. johnbres2

      I am nearly as stunned by the way fans are clinging sentimentally to Sandberg, as I was by our landing Theo Epstein.  Yes, he was a great player, but he has the personality of a turnip.  I have no interest in getting Sandberg here, even though he clearly was one of the CUbs’ greatest players ever.

  10. ottoCub

    Brett and/or anyone else with experience in MLB administration and hiring processes… I have a question about the managerial search:

    Do baseball teams use a standard professional search process when hiring managers and coaches? IE: do they post the job as a vacancy, take applications, then review the applications to bring in the best candidates for interview?

    The reason I’m asking is because it seems that if the search has an application component, then everyone interested in the job would have the ability to apply. This would make it clear from the beginning that candidates (such as Mike Maddux) are interested enough in the job to apply for it, and likely to want it if it is offered..

    If there is no application process and candidates are simply invited in for interviews, then the candidates are essentially deciding whether they would take the job at the interview.

    Having been involved in numerous professional searches (both from the point of view of hiring, and looking for employment), there is a big difference between these two processes. There is a reason why most companies and organizations post job vacancies and take applications for important positions. It gives management a chance to review the applications, and choose the best qualified. It also makes a big difference when it comes time to offer a job, because candidates have an original investment in wanting the position, since they applied for it.

  11. Andrew Moore

    Brewers pitching sucked with maddux

    1. Edwin

      dood whut?

      I remember Maddux being pretty good. Dave Bush had good/better results, Chris Capuano (whom spellchecker wants to be named Chris Capulet. I didn’t know Spellchecker digged Shakespeare.) was pretty good, even Doug Davis turned into a cost effective pitcher. I think the Brewers pitching woes came more from the fact that they didn’t give Maddux much talent to work with other than Ben Sheets, who had his own problems. The Brewers always seemed to be able to find those cast off pitchers and get some productive starts out of them. Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, that one other guy…

  12. Rancelot

    “Brewers pitching sucked with maddux”

    You mean the Brewers pitching rotations led by Jeff Suppan, Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, and the born hurt Ben Sheets? Yeah, how that staff didn’t dominate the NL is beyond me. Clearly Maddux was at fault and sucks. Is it too late to cancel the interview?

  13. fearbobafett

    i am probably in the group of a huge Sandberg fan, however i am ok with him not getting the gig (I was not ok with it last year though – Quade i knew as just another in a long line of player managers). I do however think that some day he will be back wearing blue. IF he is on this staff it should be as a base/infield coach, not as the bench coach. Being the bench coach just sceams out for folks to turn to him the first time things are going bad and that is not fair to whoever is hired.

    1. JulioZuleta

      Thank God Sandberg wasn’t hired last year. Think about that mess. Assuming Theo still would have been hired, he would have been in the ugly situation of possibly having to fire Sandberg to get “his guy”. Not the best wasy to endear yourself to your new fans.

  14. Fishin Phil
    1. johnbres2

      thanks for the link, Phil.  There is little question that from the fan perspective, Mike Maddux is THE GUY for the job.  I will be thrilled if he is the new manager.

    2. Todd

      Thanks for the link, Phil. After reading the article and watching the press clip, I’m on board with Maddux. I’d have Mackanin in second and Sveum in third.

  15. rocky8263

    Big Ryno fan and I have to agree he seems to has no personality but all the minor leaguers that have commented about him give him raves. Must be doing something right. I believe if Theo et al says he’s the wrong guy, he’s the wrong guy. For bench or to lead the team.