The Chicago Cubs will hire Joe Maddon to be their new manager, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The former Tampa Bay skipper will apparently head to Chicago after exercising an opt-out clause in his contract with the Rays. While Heyman reported Maddon will become the next manager, other reporters say the deal is not done yet, including Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Joe Maddon is talking to the #Cubs and other teams, agent Alan Nero says, but Nero and the Cubs say that no deal is done. At least not yet.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 29, 2014
Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reports the deal is not done but "all signs pointing toward" Maddon being the next Cubs manager. Joel Sherman of the New York Post, however, confirmed Heyman's initial report that the Cubs and Maddon have reached an agreement.
If Maddon does indeed head to the north side of Chicago, the Cubs will move on from Rick Renteria, who led the Cubs to a 73-89 record in his first season at the helm. Renteria has two years left on his contract and recently said he was continuing to prepare for next season, despite the rampant speculation, according to Fox Sports. Maddon, however, is regarded as one of, if not the best managers in baseball. He led the previously hapless Rays to the postseason four times, including a pair of AL East titles and a World Series appearance.
Maddon drew considerable interest after exercising his opt-out clause on Oct. 24, with his agent telling Heyman "about 10 teams" showed interest. The Cubs were initially thought to be one of the leading candidates to land him and that proved to be true, even though they had to create an opening to do it.
In nine years with the Rays, Maddon compiled a .517 winning percentage record, despite taking over struggling franchise and playing in the usually stout AL East. His 754 wins with the Rays were 236 more than the previous three managers combined for in the first nine years of the franchise's existence.