Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays with one season remaining and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that he’s agreed to a deal to become the Cubs’ new manager.
Chicago technically has a manager under contract in Rick Renteria, who was hired last offseason, but Maddon’s track record in Tampa Bay was apparently enough to convince president Theo Eptein and general manager Jed Hoyer to make a change.
No word yet on the money involved, but several reports had Maddon seeking a five-year, $25 million contract. An official announcement likely wouldn’t be made until after the World Series, as MLB frowns on that.
Maddon had a .517 winning percentage in nine seasons as Rays manager, including 90-plus wins in five of the last seven seasons and an overall winning percentage of .552 during that seven-year span. He leaves Tampa Bay following a disappointing 77-85 season and with the organization in a state of flux thanks to a weakened farm system and Andrew Friedman’s move to the Dodgers.
UPDATE: Several local Chicago reporters, plus Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, are all reporting that no deal is done even if the two sides are likely to wind up together. Whether that’s the Cubs being told to hold off on anything official or Heyman jumping the gun is unclear.
Steve Berman of The Athletic — known to some as Bay Area Sports Guy – reported overnight that Major League Baseball is likely to hand down discipline to Giants CEO Larry Baer today. Possibly as early as this morning.
As you’ll recall, on March 1, Baer was caught on video having a loud, public argument with his wife during which he tried to rip a cell phone out of her hands, which caused her to tumble off of her chair and to the ground as she screamed “help me!” After a couple of false-start statements in which he seemed to dismiss and diminish the incident, Baer released a second solo statement, apologizing to his wife, children and the Giants organization and saying he would “do whatever it takes to make sure that I never behave in such an inappropriate manner again.”
On March 4, Baer stepped away from the Giants, taking “personal time” and relinquishing his CEO role, at least temporarily. Given Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, which does not require criminal charges to trigger discipline — and given how bad a look it would be for Major League Baseball not to take any action against Baer when it is certain that it would take action against a player in a similar scenario — it was only a matter of time before the league added to whatever discipline Baer and the Giants had decided to do on their own accord.
At the time of the incident I detailed Major League Baseball’s history of disciplining owners. As discussed in that post, it’s a tricky business, as owners don’t typically rely on salaries from their team and thus it’s hard to distinguish a suspension from a vacation. The examples cited there, however, at least begin to outline the tools at MLB’s disposal in taking action against Baer, and the league has no doubt been thinking about how to approach the matter for the past month.
We’ll see what they came up with some time today.