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.
Joe and Theo got together last night, split a bottle of wine in Theo’s hotel room and came to the conclusion that their five year run together had come to an end.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 29, 2019
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.