Cubs skipper is done after a few disappointing seasons
Joe Maddon’s time in Chicago had the highest of highs and now ends with the lowest of lows. Maddon was hired by the Cubs in 2015 and immediately took a young, up and coming Cubs team to the NLCS. The following year he did the unthinkable. Maddon helped the Cubs end the most historic drought in sports and brought Chicago their first World Series in 108 years. After underachieving with one of the most talented teams for the past three years, the Cubs have opted to let Maddon’s contract expire and will explore alternative options to manage the team next season.
Maddon will arguably be the hottest commodity on the market for teams looking for a manager and there is already speculation that he will be the next manager of the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have since added fuel to the fire as they have fired manager Brad Ausmus after one season. Maddon won’t be unemployed for long as he is a three-time manager of the year award winner along with having won two World Series.
The Cubs enter the offseason looking for a new leader, and they are the most attractive job on the market as they have a very talented team along with a smart front office. The front runners for the job so far are former Cubs catcher David Ross and bench coach Mark Loretta. However, the Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein expressed that he would feel more comfortable hiring a manager with past managerial experience. A wild card for the job is former Yankees manager Joe Girardi who is reported to have an interest in the job.
Epstein has some decisions to make regarding the makeup of the roster for the team going forward. Midseason splash signing Craig Kimbrel flamed out and will still be under contract for two more years. Outfielder Jason Heyward is still under contract through 2023 and is still owed $106 million. Starting pitcher Yu Darvish has battled injuries and inconsistency since signing with the Cubs in 2018. His deal still has four years and $81 million left. The Cubs have holes in the bullpen that need to be filled immediately as well as finding a fix for an inconsistent offense which went through way too many droughts for as talented as it appeared to be coming into the season.
The Cubs have a couple of big names hitting the free-agent market such as Nicholas Castellanos and Cole Hamels. Along with key bullpen members Brandon Kintzler, Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop. There have also been rumblings that the Cubs could look to move all-star third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Javier Baez. Moving either player would be a huge blow to the team moving forward and would signify a move towards a rebuild rather than looking to compete in the 2020 season.
Even after underachieving the past three years, Maddon is getting a bit of the scapegoat treatment, as although his use of the pitching staff came into question this year, his players just flat out underperformed. Bringing in a new manager will only do so much, it’s now up to Epstein to find ways to improve this team and fix the mess he’s created.