Commentary: Joe Maddon and his Cubs future
|Thursday, August 15, 2019 12:55 PM- -|
Joe Maddon is in his fifth year of a five-year contract, and his future with the Cubs or lack thereof has been an underlying storyline in the rollercoaster ride 2019 has been for the boys in blue.
Maddon is fourth among active managers with 1,232 wins in his career as a manager. 451 of those wins have come on the top step wearing pinstripes. In his career with the Cubs, the lowest amount of victories he has had in a season is 92, in a year in which the Cubs won the NL Central division and made it to the NLCS. His worst finish in a year with the Cubs is third in the division where the Cubs then knocked out the Pirates and Cardinals who were ahead of them in the postseason before losing in the NLCS. The earliest exit that has occurred with him as the manager of the Cubs was last season after a loss in game 163 against the Brewers, and the Rockies bounced the Cubs in the Wild Card game.
This Sunday, Maddon will manage near his hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the Little League Classic in Williamsport. Maddon’s Cubs are 64-54, sitting at first place in the NL Central and on pace for their fifth straight playoff appearance for the first time in Cubs history. Not to mention, this was the guy managing the Cubs when they won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, broke the curse and forever placed himself in Cubs lore.
However, after last season the Cubs refused to talk an extension with Joe Maddon and forced him to enter this season with lame-duck status. Troubled with injuries, off the field issues regarding his player’s character and underachievement from some of his younger players Maddon has managed to keep the team on top of the division through the first two-thirds of the season.
It baffles me how so many fans and even the organization is unclear about Maddon moving forward. Joe Maddon’s Cubs have had the most wins over the last four seasons in all of baseball, he was the manager of the best team in baseball in 2016 that won the World Series for the franchise’s first title in over one-hundred years, he is on pace to keep the Cubs in the playoff picture and he is one of the best managers of all time, he simply could not do much better than he has.
Even though Maddon has been the poster-boy and leader of the golden age of Cubs baseball, highlighted by sustained success, Maddon remains without a future that is set in stone. Although a few days ago Maddon expressed optimism that he would be the manager of the Cubs moving forward for at least “a couple more years.”
It is yet to be decided whether or not Maddon will be the manager for the Cubs next season or beyond. If it were based on wins, like Maddon said, he would have job security, he has won over 400 games in his first four seasons at the wheel of the Cubs. It may depend on how the Cubs fare this season in beyond. If the Cubs fail to make the playoffs or win a playoff series it seems, whether right or wrong, a return for Maddon is unlikely.
If the Cubs win the division and win a series in the NLDS or win a Wild Card game and beat the Dodgers in a series to make the NLCS, or make or win the World Series- a Maddon return seems much more likely.
It is up to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to decide Maddon’s future with the Cubs. If Maddon wants to continue to be the Cubs manager and make the players, the fans and the organization happy he should stick to the same process he has in his first four years as Cubs manager: Win.