Major League Baseball has announced that it will not discipline the Cubs in relation to the team’s hiring of former Rays manager Joe Maddon. Tampa Bay had asked the league to look into whether Chicago had tampered with Maddon prior to his departure from the club.
Maddon was at the helm of the Rays for nine campaigns and had a year left on his contract heading into the offseason. But when GM Andrew Friedman left for the Dodgers, a provision in his deal was triggered which gave Maddon the opportunity to opt out of his own contract. Though only one big league team had an open managerial spot at that time (the Twins, who were already well on their way to hiring Paul Molitor), Maddon exercised the clause.
Speculation turned quickly to the Cubs as a landing spot, despite the fact that they had hired skipper Rick Renteria just the year prior. Chicago ultimately fired Renteria, who had two years left on his contract, and signed Maddon to a five-year, $25MM deal.
In short order, Tampa Bay asked the league to open an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Maddon’s departure — specifically, whether he might have had communication with Chicago before deciding to opt out. While a decision had been expected by Opening Day, the league took its time in making its determination. “The investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k),” the announcement ultimately concluded.