Cubs make Maddon hire official

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) – The Chicago Cubs have finalized an agreement
to make Joe Maddon their next manager, with the former Tampa Bay Rays skipper
to be formally introduced in a press conference scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on
Monday.

Maddon agreed to a five-year contract in which financial terms were not
disclosed, though the deal is expected to make the two-time American League
Manager of the Year among the highest paid at his position.

The Cubs moved quickly to obtain Maddon’s services after he opted out of his
contract with the Rays on Oct. 24, shortly after Tampa Bay general manager
Andrew Friedman left the organization to become the president of baseball
operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maddon, who guided the small-market Rays to four playoff appearances and the
2008 AL pennant over the past seven seasons, joins a long-suffering Cubs
franchise that has endured five consecutive losing campaigns but appears to
have a very promising future.

Chicago’s present farm system is ranked among baseball’s strongest and the
Cubs are expected to be significant players in free agency this offseason,
something Maddon never experienced during his successful nine-year run with
the low-budget Rays.

Those factors, coupled with Friedman’s departure and the presence of Cubs
president of baseball operations Theo Epstein — who nearly hired Maddon as
the Red Sox’ manager in 2004 while then Boston’s GM — likely played a role in
Maddon’s decision.

The 60-year-old takes over a Cubs team that showed improvement in Rick
Renteria’s lone season as manager, with Chicago posting a 73-89 record in 2014
after winning 66 and 61 games the previous two years.

Despite those strides, Epstein informed Renteria last week of his intention to
pursue Maddon and make a switch. Renteria was offered another position within
the organization but predictably declined.

Even though they annually operated with one of the lowest payrolls in the
majors, the Rays were a consistent contender for much of Maddon’s reign.
Lauded for his ability to work with young players and to maximize the
available talent on hand, the charismatic manager guided Tampa to six
consecutive winning seasons that began with the unexpected 2008 World Series
run.

The Rays, who had never won over 70 games in their first 10 seasons prior to
that 2008 breakthrough, also reached the playoffs in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Maddon amassed a 754-705 overall record in Tampa Bay, easily the most of any
manager in club history.