Though the Cubs’ postseason run ended earlier than the team hoped, the loss in last night’s NL wild card game doesn’t seem like it will lead to a change in the dugout. The Cubs are expected to retain manager Joe Maddon through the 2019 season, ESPN.com’s Jesse Rogers reports.
Maddon is under contract through next year, in what will be the final season of the five-year, $25MM deal he signed to come to Chicago in October 2014. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported earlier today, however, that a contract extension doesn’t appear to be coming in the near future, nor have Maddon’s representatives recently inquired about a new deal with Cubs management.
It’s hard to argue with Maddon’s track record since coming to Wrigleyville, as the Cubs have a 387-261 record and four postseason appearances in his four seasons as manager, highlighted by the curse-breaking 2016 World Series championship. Despite all this success, there have been whispers that Maddon and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein “are not always on the same page,” as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal phrased it earlier today. Some of Maddon’s in-game tactics led to some criticism from pundits and fans over the years, and Rosenthal’s subscription-only piece outlines some of the instances where Epstein could have found fault with Maddon’s decisions this year, such as possibly overusing Brandon Morrow.
While it seems as if Maddon could be entering the 2019 season as a “lame duck” manager, such a situation might not be unusual for either side. Maddon said last winter that he doesn’t broach the subject of contract extensions, as “I believe if we take care of our own business properly, that’s the kind of stuff that takes care of itself.” As Rosenthal noted, Epstein himself (plus GM Jed Hoyer and VP of scouting/player development Jason McLeod) was a lame duck for much of 2016, which was the last year of his initial five-year contract with the Cubs. It wasn’t until September of that year that extensions were announced for all three parties, so it perhaps wouldn’t be a surprise if Epstein and Cubs ownership waited until later in the 2019 season to approach Maddon about a new contract. Or, conversely, waiting could give both sides more time to decide if they want to continue their relationship.