Joe Maddon aims to keep managing for at least five more years, which would take him beyond both his current deal with the Cubs and past his 68th birthday, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. (Maddon had previously made similar comments to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag.) The Cubs have yet to speak to Maddon about an extension, with GM Jed Hoyer that any discussions between the two sides won’t be made public, though there isn’t yet any immediate need for talks given that Maddon is still under contract through the 2019 campaign. At age 64, Maddon is the oldest manager in baseball, though by all appearances he still connects with younger players as well as any skipper. His clear desire is to stay with the Cubs, as Maddon said “I can’t imagine doing this anywhere else, I really can’t. I’m very loyal to groups. It also comes down to whether the Cubs want me or not, too. That’s really what it comes down to.”
Here’s some more from around the NL Central…
- Kevin Siegrist will “probably look at other options first” before considering a Triple-A assignment if the Pirates don’t add him to their 25-man roster, the left-hander tells The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel (subscription required). Siegrist signed a minor league deal with the Bucs in February that will pay him $1.5MM in guaranteed salary if he cracks the big leagues, and he can opt out of the deal if the Pirates don’t put him on the Opening Day roster and another club offers him an MLB job. (The contract also contains a second opt-out clause, which Biertempfel reports is on June 1.) A workhorse out of the Cardinals bullpen in 2015-16, Siegrist struggled with injuries last season and has yet to show much this spring, with a 7.94 ERA in 5 2/3 Grapefruit League innings. Pittsburgh already has Steven Brault and Josh Smoker as left-handed options for the bullpen, so Siegrist could become expendable.
- Ji-Man Choi has become a popular figure both on and off the field with the Brewers, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, as he has quickly won friends in the clubhouse and forced his way into consideration for a roster spot after a big spring. Choi entered the day with a whopping 1.253 OPS over 51 plate appearances in camp, and though the Brew Crew are pretty set with first base options, manager Craig Counsell and GM David Stearns haven’t closed the door on the possibility of Choi being with the team on Opening Day. Choi hasn’t hit much over 147 career Major League PA with the Angels and Yankees, though he has an impressive .305/.402/.497 slash line over 1943 plate appearances in the minors. His minor league contract with the Brewers carries an opt-out date of May 15 if Choi hasn’t already been promoted to the big leagues.
- Kyle Hendricks isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until after the 2020 season, and the Cubs right-hander tells The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney (subscription required) that he isn’t yet thinking about a potential contract extension with the team. While Hendricks is taking a broader look at the game’s overall business due to his role as the Cubs’ assistant MLBPA representatives, his view when it comes to his own performance is “If you do the things out on the field, it’s going to end up taking care of itself.” Hendricks will earn $4.175MM this season after agreeing to a deal to avoid arbitration with the Cubs, and his emergence as a front-of-the-rotation starter certainly puts him in line for more healthy salaries before he reaches the open market, unless Chicago looks to lock him up beforehand.