joe maddon theo epstein jed hoyerVindicated.

After months of rumors, speculation, investigation – oh, and some wins under the new skipper – the Chicago Cubs have been cleared of any wrongdoing with respect to the hiring of manager Joe Maddon.

As you recall, Maddon opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays last Fall, following the departure of his boss, Andrew Friedman. Shortly thereafter, Maddon’s agent engaged with the Cubs, and he was later signed to a five-year, $25 million contract. There was much rejoicing.

Then the Rays cried foul, and urged MLB to investigate whether the Cubs had illicitly contacted Maddon while he was still technically under contract with the Rays, inducing him to opt out. The Cubs, Maddon, and Maddon’s agent all said it didn’t go down like that, and welcomed the investigation.

Today, MLB announced that there was no funny business:

Major League Baseball has concluded its tampering investigation regarding Joe Maddon’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays and his subsequent hiring as manager of the Chicago Cubs. The investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k) on Tampering.

The length of the investigation was, at times, unnerving, but all’s well that ends well. Maddon is with the Cubs, and he won’t cost them anything more than the price of his contract.

Huzzah. Everything’s coming up Milhouse.