maddon and epsteinAlthough MLB’s investigation into whether the Chicago Cubs tampered with then-Rays manager Joe Maddon before hiring him last Fall continues, it could finally, mercifully, be wrapped up soon, according to Jon Heyman.

At last check, MLB was hoping to have things finished by Opening Day, but wasn’t able to meet that deadline for one reason or another (some of which would make you nervous, others of which would not). The length of the investigation caused some in Tampa Bay to be optimistic that something nefarious had indeed happened, and MLB was going to punish the wicked Cubs to the benefit of the Rays. The Cubs have denied any wrongdoing from day one.

Heyman says, however, that it is “believed” that no smoking gun was found, even after MLB performed forensic investigations on devices used by Cubs employees, by Maddon, and by Maddon’s agent, Alan Nero. Heyman points to something we’ve discussed before as a hinderance in the Rays’ case: before he formally opted out, Maddon offered to stay with the Rays for barely half of what he ultimately got with the Cubs. Given that order of events, it’s hard to argue that the Cubs illicitly convinced Maddon to leave, since it clearly wasn’t solely the money that turned his head.

We’ll see how this closes out in the coming days/weeks. Clearly MLB took the claim very seriously, and investigated thoroughly.

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