Joe Maddon and Cubs Agree To Part Ways

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In lieu of a game post today, I'm going to talk about the big (and expected) news announced before the game. Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein mutually agreed that the manager would not return to Chicago in 2020.

Maddon had a remarkable five-year run on the North Side amassing 471 regular season wins. The Cubs made the playoffs four out five seasons and appeared in three National League Championship Series. Finally of course, he led Chicago to the 2016 World Series title, their first since 1908.

Joe's player's manager reputation was a key factor in adding some of the crucial free agents that helped bring that title about. He also nurtured a winning/relaxed clubhouse vibe which finally broke through the wall of negativity that surrounded the supposedly cursed franchise. His offbeat and entertaining personality made him a media and fan favorite.

The past couple of seasons exposed some of the flaws in Maddon's managerial abilities. His in-game tactical decisions, especially concerning the bullpen, have often not been good and nearly cost the Cubs in game seven of the World Series. He has also been critizied for his sometimes tone deaf response to abuse allegations against Aroldis Chapman and Addison Russell.

Tensions between Joe and the front office have increased over the last two seasons. Theo Epstein has voiced concern over a perceived lack urgency and use of so-called Sunday lineups, basically weaker lineups in the final games of series. It led to Maddon not receiving a contract extension before the final year of his contract in 2019.

The substantial drop off in the Cubs record this season sealed the lame-duck manager's fate and both sides mutually parted ways today.

Despite how things ended, I think all Cubs fans will have a special place in their hearts for Joe Maddon. I know I will definitely keep one for him. Thanks for all you did Joe, best of luck wherever you end up in 2020.

 

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  • So I guess Joe wouldn’t take a substantial pay cut.

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    This departure has nothing to do with a pay cut. It had everything to do with being the right time for both Joe and the Cubs organization.

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    Sad but had to happen. Who's it gonna be in 2020?

  • In reply to Scott Tomkiewicz:

    Girardi

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Not a chance in the world. It's going to be one of David Ross, Mark Loretta or Mark DeRosa

  • Joe is a Cubs legend, period. I sure hope he doesn't up in Pittsburgh to turn that franchise around, they won't pay him. San Fran seems like an ideal place for him. It'll be interesting to see what he does next.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Don't be surprised if it's the Phillies.
    They were a big disappointment and have the money to pay him.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I think the Padres is the perfect spot for him.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Yep...and they've got talent.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Meh, they're a 70 win team with a very limited budget.
    I'd rather be in a big market in the East than a small market in the West.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I was agreeing with you.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Oh... I thought you were saying Joe should go to the Pads.
    The weather is lovely in SD, so there's that.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    I agree. It seems to me that either San Fran or the Angels -- where Joe's professional coaching roots lie -- are ideal for him both financially and atmosphere-wise. I will always, ALWAYS be a fan of Joe Maddon the person, and he just doesn't get enough credit for displacing the pressure and negativity that was waiting to engulf those kids when they came up. Joe is a legend.

  • Change is likely to be the theme this off season. I have said for 2 years that the roster was flawed—not Joe’s fault. Joe had to handle personal drama (Russell and Zobrist)—not his fault. And then lose his best players to injury—not his fault.

    Joe will be missed. The regular season is a marathon and Joe is the best at keeping the peace during such a long season. It’s a grind.

    I do hold Joe accountable for playing crappy players far too often and screwing with the lineup seemingly daily. Very frustrating for me.

    He is the best manager we will likely see in our lifetime. Thanks Joe for getting us one World Series. I will be forever grateful you were the manager who got it done despite some questionable decisions along the way. Thank You!!!

  • I'm sure that Joe saw this coming. He was the right guy for the job, but the not the answer going forward. In his last two years, Maddon proved to be unable to fix whatever was amiss. I'm not referring to player performance, but mental errors in fielding, base running and hitting approach. New voice, will it help? Time will tell.

  • Thanks Joe for 5 years of baseball! Sometimes glorious, sometimes god–awful. He won’t be unemployed for long.

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    He was the manager of the 2016 Cubs.
    That makes him an immortal in Chicago.
    They're the baseball version of the '85 Bears.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I agree

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    No argument from me.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Amen!

  • Say it ain't so Joe!

  • Joe has many strengths and many weaknesses. His strengths helped the Cubs navigate themselves to a World Series Championship. His weaknesses led to the end of the season collapse last year and this season’s struggles.

    I will be forever grateful for what he has done for the Cubs, and eagerly await to see who his replacement will be.

  • He will be missed. My favorite Cubs manager. And not just because of the WS win. Engaging and certainly entertaining. He made '15 & '16 very special seasons for Cubs Nation.

    That said like many I found a lot of his pen decisions maddoning. But and it's a big but.The FO never gave him a reliable closer for any amount of time. And that cost them Torres. Then there's the fact they never replaced Fowler. Theo needs to stop telling us having a legit lead off man doesn't matter. It does. And don't even get me started on their inability to develop pitching to date. That has crippled them financially.

  • Now the big question...
    When do we get to bid on the plane-worn onesies??

  • Thanks joe!!!!!!!! Really appreciate the 1st World Series in many fans lifetime.

  • This Golden Era with Joe as the Cubs Manager is now over and we can remember Joe as he should be remembered: THE BEST DAMN CUBS MANAGER EVER as we begin a new Cubs Era.

    Thanks Joe for the Memories.

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    In reply to clarkAddson:

    I agree completely w/u! Sad to see him go & wish him the best!

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    Thank you Joe, for all you've done. Theo started the process and then free agents came partially because of Joe and then that magnificent run in 2015 showed everyone that these Cubs were special. That lead to the almost universal belief that the 2016 Cubs were the ones to beat to win the WS and the way we started and finished were a thing of beauty. Even when you weren't at your best we were pretty damn good.
    We will miss you, good luck in the future.

  • Only fitting that Maddon would start Holland in his final game.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    WHY this tomato can I have no clue....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Yeah.
    It's bad enough when the Cubs put in a reliever in the 7th inning.
    Using one in the 1st, you got no chance.

    They did screw up the Cardinals rotation plan, so there's that.
    I guess they decided that two chances were all the Brewers were gonna get.

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    Willson was safe at 2nd, should have challenged.

  • Makes me sick that we’re handing this to the Cardinals . Good bye Maddon.

  • As with all kinds of relationships, sometimes you’ve evolved as far as you can, and one party’s needs are not being met. The most difficult thing to do as a manager/head coach is to sustain championship level play. Joe was the guy to push them up the
    Mountain all the way to the pinnacle. He will rightly be remembered with much love.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    Well said, Jim. I agree.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    My sentiments exactly. Whatever his faults, Joe will always be remembered for 2016.

  • I'm only watching this because it's Joe's last... But they're making it hard. Get this freakin' bp pitcher out of there!

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    ... and insert another one.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Really, what difference does it make at this point?
    Cow's way out the barn, a speck at the end of the road...

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    It makes a huge difference, first we sweep in st. louis, which never happens and most importantly we could have made the cards play a wild card game. We could have very well screwed them them good. You must not have the deep,deep,deep dislike i have for st. louis. lol.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    They're layin' down today.
    Gave the Brewers a chance, made the Cardinals use their ace today.
    Good enough, I guess.

    I'll watch till the Bears come on.

  • "Wake me up when September ends."
    Sad day to end this glorious era. Joe will be missed, but the team's needs changed from someone to rein in the youthful enthusiasm to someone to light a fire under their butts and be angry over the mindless mistakes in fundamentals. I agree that Joe Girardi would be a great fit for this moment in the closing window, but don't know if his Cub's end as a player was on good terms or if he'll want another team's helm more.
    Cubs are letting the Cards clench - a fitting end to a sad season overall.

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    Cubs gave game to cardinals by starting Holland.

  • Agreed. I almost puked when I saw he was starting. For that I don't thank Joe.

  • Cubs gave the game to the Cardinals when they announced Joe's dismissal BEFORE the game.

  • Bears are kicking off in a few minutes. I'll check in for the final out of the '19 season. Just like old times.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Puts on Barleypop hat...

    Every day is like Sunday.
    Every day is silent and grey.

  • This has been inevitable for a while, that doesn't make it easier. Maddon was the best manager in the last 100 years of Cubs history and didn't deserve to go out this way but this game isn't always fair. If his contract hadn't been up he likely stays but an underperforming team and an expiring contract are a bad mix. I used to watch Rays games because I liked how he managed, which wasn't the tired old "right way", and I was thrilled when he was hired by the Cubs. He brought us a World Series and for me that's enough. I hope people understand that whatever first time manager that replaces him will be less than. I'm not saying it might not have been the right time, I'm saying be careful for what you wish for.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Well you can’t fire team so Joe had to go. IMHO joes record speaks for itself one of the best if not the best manager in baseball

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    Bears are almost starting. The Cubs look like they can’t wait until this season is over. I also have no idea why Holland started.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Joe's departing dig at Theo for the "Sunday" lineups comments? Can't say I would have been above it.

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    I almost feel bad for the brewers but they had their chances prior two games.

  • They had their chance. Brewers don't deserve to win.
    I expect the Nationals to end their season on Tuesday.

  • Yeah jeez... I know it doesn't matter a all anymore but why not at least give Chatty the ball to start? Holland makes zero sense at all. For Joe's last game it shoulda been Lester. And I guarantee you Rizzo would of fought Caratini and Happ for the start.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    FWIW, I read "somewhere" that Chatwood was dealing with "minor" shoulder issues.

  • Alright, I've got better things to do... like watch it snow. Ugh.

  • < am going to be a big Braves fan for about a week......

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    Yes, go braves!

  • Looks like the filter might have eaten my first attempt to post as a new Denizen.

    "Wake me up when September ends."

    So sad to see Joe's final Cubs game, especially on the first day of his tenure that the season ends for us on game 162.
    It is indeed time for him to go- it seemed the team's needs changed from someone even-keeled to rein in the youthful enthusiasm to someone with a harder edge to light a fire under them and use some anger at their lack of good fundamentals.
    I agree that Girardi would be the best fit, but his desire for this job is uncertain.
    Fitting that the Cubs are laying down and letting the Cards clench to end this disappointing,'maddon-ing(?)' season.

  • I see-comment only took 25 minutes to show up the first time.

  • In reply to 03heartbreak16joy:

    Welcome, and yeah, that happens.

    The Green Day lyrics have been appropriate for a couple months now, unfortunately.

  • I think the Bears are going to be hard to watch also.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I dunno...
    Bears backup QB might be an improvement.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I was thinking the same thing.

  • ‘From savior to scapegoat, why the cubs are moving on from joe maddon’

    “Maddon's dismissal from the Cubs boils down to one sentence: He wasn't able to outmanage the mistakes the front office saddled him with”

    This is the article title and a quote from an article Jesse Rogers wrote today. Strange, the media is saying the exact same thing I said, I guess they’re full of anger and vitriol lulz

  • In reply to bolla:

    I agree. I thought Theo came off very sleazy in his interview. Wish joe the best.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    There is no good way to come off in a break up. Especially when you are the one doing the break up.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    It just must be his personality. I give credit for Joe to stand up there with him and take the high road.

    Just hope Theo looks in the mirror.

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    Bad penalties for the Bears on this Viking drive. Bad offense for the Cubs this day.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Unlike the Cubs, the Bears make plays.

  • The one bright spot I can glean from this game is that Nico's starting in center. Like to see that continuing come Spring Training if the team can't pick up the lead-off hitting center fielder we've been wanting since Dexter left.

  • In reply to 03heartbreak16joy:

    They need to clean house in the bullpen and somehow get a true leadoff man.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Yep, totally agree. Enough of the reclamation projects.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Is Nico - potentially - that leadoff man? Especially if he can cover CF, SS and 2B defensively? Anybody ever tried him out at 3B?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Isn't CF, SS and 2B enough?

  • Watching Zobrist strike out Yadi for our final defensive out may have been the highlight of my 2019 season.

  • And so it ends- with the same score as a forfeit and watching another team dance.

  • Well that sucked.

    I should probably repeat that, for affect.

    Well that sucked.

  • I hope this is the last game I see Descalso, Kemp and Holland in a Cubs uniform. They are aweful.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Many of these guys won't be wearing a Cub uniform.

  • It been nice if they could have done this at Wrigley. Been nice for fans to show their love and respect for joe.

  • The manager gets the credit when the team wins and the manager gets the blame when the team fails to achieve its goal. Similar to how we elect US presidents.

    Joe Maddon not being renewed or offered a new contract is no different than the many other managers that been saddled with the same fate.

    The easy change has been made. Now for the front office needs to dig in and do the hard work to remake the roster and hire a manager that can "reshape" the team style of play and curb the lack of fundamentals.

    Joe, of course, will land on his feet somewhere as he has done nothing to be uninvited from the managerial merry ground. Most definitely, he will get the chance to do the same thing elsewhere

  • As the only Cubs fan most of my friends and family have ever known, as I have spent my entire life in Philadelphia, I have become something of a quasi-representative to them of everything Cub. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten the same “Why would they not want to keep Maddon forever.” And you know I have no answer for them. I ask myself the same question. I’m afraid nothing will be the same anymore, especially my expectations of success. Epstein will have two years to prove this was the right decision and then he too will be gone.

  • According to family sources, Maddon has known all year that he wasn't coming back. So I expect the Cubs know who their man is and will be announced shortly after the WS. Theo has respect for going up against Girardi for many years. DeRosa has always spoken positively about the Cubs on MLB TV. And there is the always the dancer, Ross. All good choices.

  • Good comments here and a good article.

    Always will be grateful for Joe. He had a team relaxed and ready for that 9th inning in Game 4 in SF, when all of us were climbing the walls with the thought of facing Johnny Cueto (and Mad Bum in the pen, and the Giants' even year mystique) in an elimination game. Being down 2 games to 1 to the Dodgers was no big thing. And being down 3-1 to Cleveland wasn't either. The culture and relaxed tone of allowing guys to play in the brightest of tense spotlights broke the curse. We can nitpick lineups or bullpen moves all we want, but years from now whether Joe went to Brandon Kintzler one batter too early will never be remember. The heroics of that 2016 team will. We have all watched very talented Cubs teams fold like tents under October pressure, seemingly carrying that century on each of their backs under high-strung "hard-a$$" managers. Joe remembered it was a game.

    I personally feel the die were cast 12 months ago. I thought 2018 was his best work. Three free agent busts (for last year anyway) that contributed little. Two huge holes in the rotation. No closer. KB hurt half the year, and not himself when he returned. Willson and others hurt. And 95 wins. When that didn't earn an extension, and instead earned "year of reckoning" garbage, the writing was on the wall.

    I trust in Theo as I always have to make the right call here. But the accountability has to begin working up the building at Waveland and Clark. This is four managers in 8 seasons w Theo and Jed. We can't have a revolving door at Pitching Coach and Hitting Coach. And the player development especially on the pitching side needs to produce MLB viable talent.

    This team is still in a window to win. Let's hope the FO has done their best work to make this offseason the best yet. And thanks, Joe.

  • I’ll miss Joe. Last year when he pitched Morrow three days in a row and Morrow got hurt and Theo said in the future they would take away his cleats so he couldn’t pitch you sure got the sense Maddon went against his boss’ instructions. That never plays well, no matter who you are.

  • Good luck and thanks Joe!

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