Update: Joe Maddon has accepted the job, and will be officially introduced in a Monday press conference.
The Twitterverse exploded this afternoon with news that Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs are in the final stages of inking a contract to make him manager of the club.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that both the Cubs and Joe Maddon’s agent Alan Nero denied a deal is done, however sources familiar with the dealings say a deal is imminent and to be completed in coming days — Maddon would indeed be the next Cubs manager.
Heyman went on,
The contract, once finalized, is expected to make Maddon one of the highest-paid managers in baseball and quite likely the best-paid in the National League. Mike Scioscia’s Angels deal pays him $5 million annually, so he sets the standard.
Cubs president Theo Epstein has long been an admirer of Maddon, according to people close to the team. The Cubs intend to make a big splash in free agency, and this represents a big start.
A couple of things stand in the way of the move; current manager Rick Renteria, and the potential for the Rays to file a tampering grievance against the Cubs.
As it relates to the former, per Heyman, Rick Renteria was told that the team was exploring the possibility of hiring Maddon, who became a free agent after recently opting out of his Rays deal. It should be noted, Renteria has two guaranteed years left on his three-year deal with the Cubs.
As for the latter, Major League Baseball’s tampering rules state,
There shall be no negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any club other than the club with which (the player) is under contract or acceptance of terms.
In short, a team is not allowed to discuss employment with a player — or in this case, a manager — while he is under contract with another team. If there is evidence of tampering, it should be assumed the Rays front office will file an official grievance with Major League Baseball. While the consequences fail to be seen at the moment, there is the possibility that it could negate any associated move. Marc Topkin also noted there could be potential for compensation (A fine? A player?) determined by the commissioner’s office.
And just when you thought the offseason would be quiet…
- We’re awaiting the official end of the season to put together our analysis of what to expect in 2015. Until then, DRaysBay knocked the proverbial ball out of the park with this piece titled, Rays payroll set to decrease in 2015.