It hid a bit behind the final playoff push and the post-trade-deadline discussions, but the uncertain future for Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been a key story for this club going all the way back to last offseason, when the front office declined to discuss an extension with a manager on the final year of his deal.
But now with the end of the season approaching quickly – one way or another – the conversation is going to come back up at a ferocious pace.
The chatter and rumors are already flying.
On it goes:
If the Phillies move on from Gabe Kapler, one insider is already connecting the dots to Joe Maddon as his replacement.https://t.co/UZ8mMZBDHL
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) September 18, 2019
Jobs at stake: https://t.co/Ir5E1TCzTa
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 14, 2019
Joe Maddon isn’t the problem, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be part of the Cubs’ solution: “I feel so good about the body of work that we’ve done here that I can’t lament anything. There’s nothing for me to worry about.” https://t.co/DU0bZUgAsQ
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) September 14, 2019
A look at Theo's evaluation of the manager, Maddon's future in doubt, the new expectations at Wrigley Field and how the Cubs sound ready to say something like: It's not you, it's us.https://t.co/eYmPP9tb6b
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) September 19, 2019
No one is going to comment on this stuff publicly right now, and you’ll hear nothing but praise for Maddon from the front office and a focus on the rest of the season.
I think that’s perfectly fair. I also think it’s completely coherent to say that Maddon has been tremendously successful with the Cubs, has done a great job with his rosters and injuries and what have you, may very well continue to be very successful as a big league manager, and also the Cubs should move on after this season. If that’s your perspective, I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about holding all of those things in your mind at once.
At some point, while you’re not looking to make a change for change’s sake, you do need different voices, approaches, energies, styles, etc. After five years and no extension talks, I simply tend to think that’s the way the front office is going to go, and for all that I like about Joe Maddon – and for all that you cannot replace about him – I accept it.
I could be wrong, of course. We’ll see what the next couple weeks bring, and we’ll start covering the rumors in a more urgent way now that an actual decision could be fast approaching. It’s a weird spot to be in, both because of Maddon’s success/gravitas, and also because it just usually doesn’t play out like this with managers. I have to kind of get my feet under me on how to cover a managerial situation like this, in terms of rumors and speculation.