Joe Maddon Speaks: Expectations, Experience, Heyward in Center Field, and More

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Joe Maddon Speaks: Expectations, Experience, Heyward in Center Field, and More

Chicago Cubs News

joe maddon speaksOn Wednesday night in Chicago, Cubs manager Joe Maddon – organized through Chicago Help Initiative – held a “Thanksmas” dinner, serving food to over 130 homeless men and women. With the help of Zac Rosscup, Pierce Johnson, Travis Wood, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber, the annual Maddon tradition was a huge success.

At the event, several reporters spoke with Maddon about the Cubs, the upcoming season, expectations and more. You can read all of Maddon’s thoughts from that night here, here and here., among other places.

Among the highlights, Maddon addressed whether he felt the Cubs would be making another high-profile move before the start of the season. And despite “lots of talk,” Maddon doesn’t see anything else happening. After essentially making three big moves – John Lackey, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward – Maddon is operating under the assumption that what they’ve got now is what they’ll have in April (and what they’ve got now is the projected top team in baseball).

Maddon is rightfully comfortable with the roster he has and is happy about the talent that has been brought in. That said, you can probably expect some additional, smaller moves like a right-handed hitting, defense-first center fielder, and possibly some more competition for the bench and bullpen.

On the upcoming season and the target on their back, the Cubs skipper finds himself unfazed. In fact, he believes that the experiences gained throughout last season and in the playoffs will be a huge boon to their chances in 2016. In addition to the free agents brought in, Maddon is pleased with the winning experience this team saw last year. It’s hard for us, as fans, to see the importance of having winning experience, but has become a repeatedly desirable quality to have, so it’s likely there’s something there.

Maddon likes the Cubs’ chances to replicate 2015; he just hopes they win 8 more games next time.

Lastly, on whether or not Jason Heyward can play center field, Maddon is extremely confident that he can.

“He runs well enough, he’s got the arm, he’s got this nose for the ball, he’s got all that stuff, great first step,” Maddon said, per “I don’t understand why you would think he cannot or [he would] be unable to or [he would] be unhappy with it.”

Maddon went on to recall scouting Jim Edmonds in right field, before suggesting to the Angels that he might thrive in center (which he did with aplomb). Maddon also called Heyward one of the top five baseball players on the face of the Earth. That is likely a bit of a stretch, but it does go to show you how coaches and teams value guys with an extremely well-rounded and complete set of tools. Heyward can check a lot of boxes, including solid center field defense, and for Maddon that’s all he needs to know.

There’s a lot of good stuff in each of the pieces from, ESPN, and CSN, so give them a read for more from the animated Cubs manager. You’ll be pleased to find out that the only thing he’s worried about right now is what to say in his opening address for Spring Training 2016. I’m guessing the words will come to him.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.