The writing was already on the wall, but on Sunday, the Cubs made it official: Manager Joe Maddon will not be returning to the club in 2020, bringing his five-year tenure with Chicago to an end. Prior to the Cubs’ final game of the year, both Maddon and President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein spoke to the press to explain the decision.
“We never could have imagined this working out as well as it did,” Epstein said. “I personally could have never imagined having such a wonderful partner — someone so loyal and supportive, and someone from whom I learned so much about baseball and life, and someone who I consider a lifelong friend. […] We both agreed that it’s time, and that this type of change is a win-win. […] It’s going to be good for the Cubs, too. I think we’re at a point where we just need a little bit of change and something new, and that’s natural.”
While the Cubs’ 2019 run hasn’t turned out as expected — with the blame pinned to everything from a shaky bullpen to an underperforming offense and depleted farm system — the decision to part ways with Maddon appears to be an amicable one. He’ll enter his final game with the Cubs sporting a 471-338 record, one that encompasses five winning seasons, two division titles, four playoff runs, and a World Series championship.
“We’re both going to move on,” Maddon told reporters Sunday. “The Cubs are going to flourish. Hopefully I get the chance to do this somewhere else. But there’s no tears shed — it’s a good moment for everybody, and we’re both excited about our futures.”
As for his next step? Nothing has been decided yet, but with Maddon’s superb track record and potential managerial vacancies looming for the Phillies and Mets, in addition to the Padres, Giants, Pirates, and Royals, there’s no doubt he’ll find another opportunity to shepherd a major-league team by 2020.