[Many updates below, which you’ll want to check out. I’ll leave the text of the original post in place for posterity (I have made some non-substantive edits due to the I-was-typing-and-thinking-really-quickly nature of this kind of breaking story), but this is not a done deal. Not yet.]
It’s been days in the making, and the only thing holding up Chicago Cubs’ fans’ confidence that the move would happen was a history of being burned. But there has been a consensus on this for a long time, and Jon Heyman just reported it: Joe Maddon will be the next Cubs manager.
If you need additional emotional security, I’ve now been told by multiple sources that this is a done deal in practice, if not yet in effect. Nothing official yet, obviously. [Edit: What I’m saying there is that my intent with “done deal” was “it’s going to happen,” not “this is official and the Cubs are revealing it right before Game 7 of the World Series.” Definitely didn’t want anyone to get that impression because there’s no way the Cubs would want this breaking before the World Series was over.]
This is a big deal. This is legitimately exciting. You are allowed to be excited.
Simultaneously, you can feel a little bad for Rick Renteria, who did nothing wrong in his year at the helm of the Cubs, and excelled on the development side of his charge. He’ll be paid his salary for 2015 and 2016, no matter what, but hopefully he’s able to find a satisfying job in baseball if he wants. I’d think he’ll get a good recommendation.
Good luck to Renteria.
I will have much more on this in the coming days, obviously.
We’ll await the formal announcement and the press conference, because things can always happen. But the Cubs’ exciting 2014/15 offseason is already underway.
UPDATE: A cascade of Tweets from Chicago reporters – Kaplan, Sullivan, Miles, for example – say the Heyman report is inaccurate and/or the deal is not quite done yet. Though they all caution that saying that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I get the sense that there are t’s to cross and i’s to dot, but it will eventually happen. Heyman may actually have been saying that, because he didn’t say the Cubs had already hired Maddon. Just that it would happen.
Game 7 of the World freaking Series starts in a couple hours, too. The Cubs wouldn’t be doing their part if they didn’t try to squash the Heyman report, at least for now.
UPDATE 2: And Mooney comes through with pretty much the perfect summation of all of the above:
Source close to Maddon negotiations says CBS report is "not accurate" but all signs pointing toward him being next #Cubs manager.
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) October 29, 2014
UPDATE 3: Ken Rosenthal pumps the brakes the hardest:
Sources: Maddon talking to #Cubs as well as other teams. No deal in place with Cubs – yet.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 29, 2014
Candidly, I think we’re just in a situation where perhaps lots of people knew something with Maddon and the Cubs was coming (eh hem), and folks generally opted not to upstage the World Series. That’s not me ripping Heyman for reporting this, because I certainly understand the urge to break news. But the Cubs and MLB are likely very unhappy about the timing of this report, and everyone is going to do their best to walk this back.
So … yeah, maybe the Cubs won’t hire Joe Maddon. Nothing is definite.
UPDATE 4: And now Heyman’s written report is out, and it sounds a lot more like everyone else’s. It’s not a done deal, but they sides are “on the verge” of a deal.
UPDATE 5: Joel Sherman is joining Heyman in the group comfortable reporting this today:
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) October 29, 2014