Results tagged ‘ Joe Maddon ’
The Cubs will formally introduce Jon Lester on Monday, and they can thank Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija for helping sell the left-hander on coming to Chicago. Lester agreed to a six-year, $155 million contract last Tuesday, but needed to pass a physical to make it official. He did that, and will show off his new Cubs jersey for the first time Monday at Spiaggia restaurant in downtown Chicago.
Lester, Hammel and Samardzija were teammates for two months on the Athletics. The Cubs had sent Hammel and Samardzija to Oakland in a July 4 package, while the Red Sox dealt Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A’s on July 31 for Yoenis Cespedes.
Hammel, 32, formally introduced on Friday after signing a two-year contract to return to the Cubs, said Lester was curious about Chicago. Lester, who turns 31 in January, knew Theo Epstein; the two were together in Boston.
“I think the Theo-Jon bromance was going to happen anyways,” Hammel said. “But [Lester] was definitely interested, and he was picking our brains all the time.”
The addition of Lester certainly gives the Cubs rotation an ace. A two-time World Series champion, Lester now leads a staff that includes Hammel, Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood, Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Felix Doubront.
“You see a lot of things going on right now,” Hammel said of the Cubs. “It’s not just shtick. It’s not just flash. They’re making a commitment to winning here. It’s important that it’s not, ‘We’re just trying to surprise people.’ This is a commitment to winning.”
– Carrie Muskat
As far as Joe Maddon is concerned, the Cubs won the lottery by getting Jon Lester. The next step is to win the World Series.
Late Tuesday, Lester picked the Cubs over his former team, the Red Sox, and agreed to a six-year, $155 million contract, the largest in franchise history.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal was first to report the deal. The Cubs would not confirm it, but Maddon did, holding court in the lobby of the Manchester Grand Hyatt after dinner in downtown San Diego.
“This definitely propels us into Plan A, which is kind of neat,” said Maddon, who received a text message from Theo Epstein with the news. “It’s a big day for us, moving forward. It really brings a lot of different factors together. It’s very exciting.”
Maddon was eager to hear why Lester picked the Cubs.
“It would have a lot to do with the familiarity with Theo and the guys who were there [in Boston],” Maddon said. “I think he sees the potential with the group and the direction we’re headed. I want to believe that had a lot to do with it, and I’m curious to see what he says.”
Epstein, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and Lester all won a World Series in Boston. Could they do that with the Cubs?
“It definitely makes it more believable to everybody else in that room,” Maddon said of the Cubs players. “I’ll stand up and make the same speech regardless but when you have it backed up by that particular kind of presence, it adds to it. I can’t deny any of that. Having people like that in the room definitely helps other guys believe this is possible.”
If Lester and the Cubs were to win a World Series, which would be the franchise’s first since 1908, then the left-hander would be the first pitcher with championship rings from both the Cubs and Red Sox. Think about that for a moment. Lester probably did, Maddon said.
“He’s been there before, he understands what it feels like,” Maddon said. “I want to believe he could foresee the same thing happening here. From my perspective it’s exciting to be involved in this moment.”
For Maddon, it’s quite a change after being on the outside looking in as the Yankees and Red Sox were big spenders in the East and he was trying to win with the Rays.
“It’s different,” Maddon said. “I have not been on this side since my days with the Angels when I got an email in Italy that we had signed Vladimir Guerrero. … That’s the last time I was involved in this kind of a moment.”
And the last time he was this excited?
“Let’s see, [it’s when] my grandson was born,” he said. “Giuseppe was born about a year and a half ago. That was the last time.”
Epstein’s only long-term deal since he took over the Cubs was a four-year, $52 million contract he gave Edwin Jackson. Lester’s puts him in the upper echelon regarding pitcher salaries, second only to Clayton Kershaw in terms of average annual value.
“It’s not often you get to win the lottery,” Maddon said. “We won the baseball lottery so far this year. Now it’s up to us to put it into effect. It’s all theory right now and we have to make it real. You need pieces like this to make it real.”
– Carrie Muskat
What’s Joe Maddon’s take on the Jon Lester sweepstakes?
“I hope we win it,” Maddon said Tuesday.
Speaking to the media at the Winter Meetings, Maddon said he had a phone conversation with Lester in November, part of the Cubs recruiting process. They discussed hunting, the AL East, past games, and how much respect Maddon has for the left-hander.
“I always admired his work from a distance,” Maddon said. “This is a guy who, when the game was really big, he was always at his best. To possibly get this opportunity to work with him for the first time is very exciting. I honest to God don’t know where this is at right now.”
Maddon does acknowledge that it will be tough for Lester to leave Boston.
“Having been with the Red Sox his whole career and all the wonderful success he’s had there, you would think it would be a difficult situation,” Maddon said. “I can’t speak for that, personally. As an opponent, this guy was always at his best when it seemed to matter most. You want to get to him early because if you permit him to settle, he’s definitely going to be there in the seventh or eighth innings.
“You can’t have any respect for a Major League baseball player than we do for him right now. For us to be able to pull this off would be pretty outstanding.”
Did Maddon have any idea as to how long it will be before Lester makes a decision?
“I’m sure it’s not going to be much longer,” Maddon said. “I really have no information or knowledge about that. You just wait for the white smoke.”
– Carrie Muskat
Could Dave Martinez join Joe Maddon on the Cubs staff? According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Rays will not stand in Martinez’s way if the Cubs or another team requests to interview him for a coaching job. Martinez is under contract with the Rays through next season. Martinez was a candidate for the Rays managerial opening but was told last Friday that he was not one of the final three candidates.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, bench coach Dave Martinez is no longer in the running for the Rays managerial opening. Perhaps Martinez will join Joe Maddon on the Cubs coaching staff? Martinez actually interviewed for the Cubs manager’s job prior to last season. Rick Renteria was named manager, and then dismissed to make room for Maddon, who became available when he opted out of his contract. Martinez was the Cubs’ third-round Draft pick in 1983, and played for the team from 1986-88, and again in 2000.
Topkin reports that Kevin Cash, Raul Ibanez and Don Wakamatsu are the three finalists for the Rays job.
“The decision on Dave Martinez was especially difficult,” said the Rays’ Matt Silverman.
The Cubs announced their 2015 coaching staff in early October but Renteria was expected to be the manager at that time. When Maddon was hired on Nov. 3, Cubs executives said there could be some changes to the staff.
– Carrie Muskat
Theo Epstein said he welcomed an investigation by Major League Baseball into tampering allegations related to the team’s hiring of Joe Maddon. When Rays general manager Andrew Friedman left to take a job with the Dodgers, Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with the Rays, and was named the Cubs 54th manager in franchise history on Nov. 3.
Speaking in Phoenix, where the general manager meetings are being held, Epstein said the investigation was in the preliminary stages. The Cubs have yet to receive requests for phone or email records, he said.
“We welcome the MLB investigation,” Epstein said Monday night. “As we said last week, there was no tampering whatsoever. I’d rather they investigate, so we can clear our names and move on from this quickly. We’re giving our full cooperation.”
On Oct. 31, when the Cubs announced that Rick Renteria was dismissed as manager, Epstein detailed the events that led to Maddon’s hiring, saying they received an email from Maddon’s agent, Alan Nero, announcing his free agent status. Epstein first contacted Dan Halem, MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations, to confirm that Maddon had opted out before responding to Nero.
Maddon had a two-week window to make a decision, and he and the Rays did discuss a contract extension. But Maddon instead decided to see what else was available, and eventually signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Cubs.
– Carrie Muskat
Joe Maddon and his wife Jaye took out a full page ad in the Tampa Bay Times to say thanks to Rays fans among others. Here’s the copy:
“Thank you to the Tampa Bay community for making your home, our home;
“To everyone who has helped make ‘Thanksmas’ a success and to those who will help us continue to grow it;
“To the Rays players for your hard work, belief and commitment to creating and maintaining a positive culture that will endure;
“To the Rays coaching, training, and front office staffs that are second to none;
“To Stu Sternberg, Matt Silverman, Andrew Friedman and the Rays ownership group for permitting me to grow and evolve as a manager;
“But most of all … Thank you to the Rays fans for their consistent loyalty and energy which allowed me to flourish on a daily basis.”
Why does Joe Maddon want to wear No. 70? He preferred No. 20, but lost that number when Don Sutton came to the Angels. Maddon was randomly assigned 70 at that time, and decided he wouldn’t change so his number would never be taken from him again.
The Cubs may make some changes to the coaching staff now that Joe Maddon is the new manager. In early October, the team announced the staff but that was before Rick Renteria was dismissed and Maddon was hired.
“I would not expect significant turnover,” Theo Epstein said. “Joe has the right to bring people in if he wants to.”
Currently, the staff includes new hitting coach John Mallee, outfield/first base coach Doug Dascenzo, pitching coach Chris Bosio, bench coach Brandon Hyde, third base/infield coach Gary Jones, bullpen coach Lester Strode, catching coach Mike Borzello, assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske, and staff assistant Franklin Font.
– Carrie Muskat