Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told members of the media, including Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, that the club won’t discuss a contract extension with manager Joe Maddon and his agent Alan Nero until later in the 2019 season. Maddon is entering the last year of his five-year, $25 million contract with the Cubs.
According to Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM, there is no ill will between the two sides. Maddon is content to enter the 2019 season without a resolution for his future with the Cubs.
Maddon, 64, has managed the Cubs for the last four seasons, compiling a 387-261 (.597) regular season record and winning the World Series in 2016. After reaching the NLCS in 2017, the Cubs lost the NL Central tiebreaker to the Brewers this year, then were eliminated from the postseason by the Rockies in the NL Wild Card game.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.