Joe Maddon is out as the Cubs’ manager, but the 65-year-old isn’t eyeing retirement. Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes that Maddon hopes to manage for another three to five seasons and is open to signing on with rebuilding clubs and contenders alike.
“I look at it, it’s got to be a good fit,” said the three-time Manager of the Year winner. “Philosophically, you’ve got to be on the same page. You’ve got to like the people you’re going to work with. I’m wide open.”
There are currently four teams with managerial openings that could target Maddon. Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost announced their retirement as managers of the Giants and Royals, respectively, while the Pirates have fired Clint Hurdle and the Padres have fired Andy Green. Additional openings will surely arise; the Mets’ Mickey Callaway and the Phillies’ Gabe Kapler are both on the proverbial hot seat following disappointing showings in the NL East. There’s also been some speculation about a quick changing of the guard for the Angels, who hired Brad Ausmus less than one year ago.
Maddon has been a full-time manager with two teams — the Rays and the Cubs — but that experience has exposed him to a wide-ranging spectrum of clubs. His time with Tampa Bay familiarized him with a rebuilding club early on, as he was hired in 2006, and that job also created experience in dealing with a low-payroll organization. On the flip-side of things, Maddon was hired by the Cubs at a time when the team was emerging from its rebuild and had clear-cut postseason hopes. He also dealt with managing a number of well-compensated veterans on a big payroll club that often utilized those highly paid veterans in more limited roles than the ones to which they’d previously grown accustomed.
Maintaining a positive clubhouse in that type of setting can come with challenges, but Maddon seemingly never lost the respect of his players. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo tells Nightengale that Maddon is a “walking, living legend” who will be missed. “Joe changed my life,” says Rizzo. “Changed my career. I love him like a dad. The guy understands the human element of this game more than anyone I’ve been around. I’ll be forever grateful to him.” Tony Andracki of NBC Sports Chicago provides additional quotes from Jon Lester, Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist and Ian Happ — each of whom heaps praise onto Maddon and the job that he’s done in his time with the team.
It stands to reason that as a well-respected dugout veteran with a recent World Series championship and a lifetime 1252-1068 record, Maddon will have little difficulty finding a new job in 2020 and beyond. It’s worth noting that if the Halos do decide to move on from Ausmus, Maddon has considerable ties to that organization. Maddon served as a first base coach and bench coach with the Angels for more than a decade and was also the team’s interim manager in two different seasons, compiling a 27-24 record in those temporary appointments.