Joe Maddon said all the right things today in what might be his final weekly hit on the Cubs’ radio home at 670 The Score, expressing optimism that he could stick with the Cubs for years to come, and explaining that those conversations are coming soon.
If Maddon does move on, either by the Cubs’ decision not to engage in negotiations or by his own decision to move on, he’s going to have plenty of options if he wants to manage again in 2020. Not only are there already several managerial openings – Padres, Giants, Royals, with more to come – there are likely teams willing to do what the Cubs did in late 2014: ditch their manager for a shot at Maddon.
The Phillies are probably the team you hear about most in that situation, given the tenuous standing of Gabe Kapler and Maddon’s Pennsylvania roots, but that’s definitely not the only team you’ll hear about.
For example, enter one of Maddon’s former organizations:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 25, 2019
Angels manager Brad Ausmus is, like Rick Renteria was with the Cubs, in just the first of a new three-year contract. And sources tell Rosenthal that the Angels *would* consider moving on from Ausmus if it meant a chance to bring back Maddon, who was a long-time coach with the organization before he became the Rays’ manager.
A complicating factor is GM Billy Eppler, who has overseen disappointing team after disappointing team, and is himself entering the final year of his contract in 2020. Aggressively involved owner Arte Moreno might push Eppler to bring in Maddon, even if it mean Maddon might carry more sway in the organization thereafter than his boss. Awkward.
For Maddon, you do wonder if it would be sufficiently compelling to return to a familiar organization and lead a team that features the best player in baseball (Mike Trout), the most intriguing two-way player in the game (Shohei Ohtani), and big-market resources. It’s a team that is desperate to make a deep postseason run, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump. Seems like an attractive spot.