Results tagged ‘ Joe Maddon ’

11/21 Could Martinez join Maddon?

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

11/11 MLB investigates Cubs re: Maddon hiring

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

11/8 Joe says thanks

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.”

11/4 In case you were wondering …

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.

11/4 Here’s Jed, Joe and Theo

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GM Jed Hoyer, new manager Joe Maddon and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein at Monday’s news conference at the Cubby Bear.

11/4 Coaching staff

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

11/4 Maddon mania

On Monday, Joe Maddon became the 54th manager in Cubs history, signing a five-year, $25 million contract with the team. The two-time American League manager of the year held an entertaining introductory news conference at the Cubby Bear bar, a location made necessary because of the renovation work at Wrigley Field. Maddon was clearly excited about the opportunity and didn’t hide it.

“For me, I’m going to be talking playoffs next year,” Maddon said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Because I can’t go to Spring Training and say any other thing. I’m just incapable of doing that. Why would you even report? It’s all about setting your standards and your goals high because if you don’t set them high enough you might actually hit your mark. We’re going to set our mark high and I’m going to talk playoffs and World Series this year and I’m going to believe it.”

Theo Epstein had interviewed Maddon for the Red Sox job in 2003, but did that at the Biltmore in Phoenix. Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer interviewed Maddon at an RV park in Pensacola, Fla., sitting in lawn chairs next to a lake.

“Comparing Joe now to when I interviewed him over a decade ago, he was always confident but it’s now reached a new level because he’s done it and it’s worked,” Epstein said. “Joe is a combination of just about everything we look for in a manager. Everyone associates him with new-school because they’ve used analytics in Tampa and he’s so open-minded and so progressive. But this is an old-school baseball guy with a wealth of knowledge. … It’s hard to find that. It’s hard to find old-school and new-school in the same package.”

Some highlights from Monday:

* He believes pre-game work is overrated, he likes the National League because of the “intellectual component,” and isn’t worried about curses. He is an avid bike rider, likes wine, and is about to open a restaurant in Tampa.

* He was impressed by the Cubs young talent during the Rays three-game Interleague series in August, which was an incentive to take the job.

* He was not aware of the opt-out clause in his contract until told, and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to be a free agent.

* He’s been called crazy. That’s OK. Can his unique style play in a big market like Chicago?

“We’re going to find out,” Maddon said. “Why would I ever want to change? Why would I ever want to do something that’s counter to my nature or personality? Why would I want to do that? It shouldn’t matter where you’re located. What matters is the consistency with which you approach the day and how you deal with people and how you build relationships. That’s important.”

* And, in a first for a Cubs manager, Maddon offered to buy everyone at the Cubby Bear a drink.

– Carrie Muskat

11/3 It’s Maddon Monday

The Cubs will hold a news conference at the Cubby Bear across from Wrigley Field to introduce Joe Maddon as the 54th manager in franchise history. The news conference will begin at 2 p.m. CT and be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. You also may be able to watch on MLB Network.

11/2 Agent: “Insulting” to say Cubs tampered

Joe Maddon’s agent says accusations that the Cubs are guilty of tampering is “insulting” and credited Theo Epstein for doing due diligence in making certain Maddon had exercised the opt-out clause in his contract before contacting him.

During an interview Sunday on MLB Network Radio, agent Alan Nero said the Cubs did not contact him about Maddon’s availability until the MLB commissioner’s office confirmed Maddon was available. Nero said he had heard from 10 different teams before the Cubs called, as well as media outlets interested in hiring Maddon for broadcast opportunities.

Maddon, who will be introduced on Monday as the Cubs’ 54th manager in franchise history, considered managing the Cubs a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” Nero said, and feels the move will help his charities in Tampa and Hazleton, Pa.

As for charges that the Cubs contacted Maddon before he had exercised the opt-out clause, Nero said those charges are “sad and a bit insulting.”

“Theo wouldn’t even talk until he had clearance from the commissioner’s office,” Nero told MLB Network Radio. “It’s silly to suggest that. If [the Rays] want to pursue that, that’s fine. It’s very unfortunate.”

Nero said they negotiated for five to six days with the Rays regarding an extension, but said it finally became apparent that was not going to happen. Did the Rays offer Maddon a new deal that would make him one of the top paid managers in the game? Nero said no, adding, “our proposals to them were under market value.”

– Carrie Muskat

10/31 Can Maddon make “magic” with Cubs?

Joe Maddon will definitely be a different manager than any the Cubs have had in the past. The two-time AL Manager of the Year has invited a pair of South African penguins from the Florida Aquarium; a cockatoo; a four-piece merengue band; a 20-foot long python; and a Seminole medicine man. The Rays players wore camouflage outfits on a May 2013 trip to Baltimore, team letterman jackets in April 2013 to Boston, all-white in June 2012 to Miami, and hockey jerseys in June 2010 to Toronto.

Cubs fans may need to learn some new phrases, such as “hitterish,” “woof,” “poisontry,” and “over-boogie,” which are all Maddon-isms. In 2008 when Maddon and the Rays won the American League East, the manager often said, “nine equals eight,” which translates to nine players playing nine innings each game to become one of eight playoff teams.

“Joe Maddon was very successful in Tampa in a smaller market, and most baseball pundits would tell you that’s easier than having more of a major market team like the Cubs,” catcher John Baker said. “I think it’s an appropriate time in Joe Maddon’s career to move to one of these historic franchises and see if he can do something magical. He made some magic happen in Tampa Bay, and if this is the one opportunity the Cubs have to acquire a manager like that, it seems to make sense. If I have the opportunity to play for him, it’s somebody I’d try to learn from, just like I did with Ricky [Renteria] as well.”

Maddon’s free spirit attitude does have a purpose.

“He seems to know how to keep a clubhouse light and be able to focus on the important things, which is the game,” Baker said. “Sometimes when you add extra distractions it becomes easier to focus on baseball. That’s a philosophy I subscribe to. They all come from a similar background — Bud Black, Maddon and [Mike] Scioscia and those coaches who came from those early Angels team — they have some things I’ve noticed that help them be successful. They keep it light, keep it positive, always focusing on the goal and moving forward.

“Obviously, Joe Maddon has a track record of being a very successful manager in a very tough division in baseball,” Baker said. “It’ll be very exciting.”

– Carrie Muskat


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