Advertisement
  1. Rays

Joe Maddon: Talk of his tenuous fate ‘makes no sense’

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon watches his team during the third inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Chicago. The Cubs keep winning through everything that knocks some contenders out of the playoff race. Credit one of the majors’ deepest rosters, but manager Joe Maddon also is pushing all the right buttons as Chicago tries to close out its third consecutive NL Central title.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) CXC203
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon watches his team during the third inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Chicago. The Cubs keep winning through everything that knocks some contenders out of the playoff race. Credit one of the majors’ deepest rosters, but manager Joe Maddon also is pushing all the right buttons as Chicago tries to close out its third consecutive NL Central title.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) CXC203
Published Aug. 31, 2018|Updated Aug. 31, 2018

ATLANTA – Joe Maddon seems to be doing pretty well.

Since leaving the Rays after 2014 and signing a five-year deal with the Cubs, he has led them to the National League Championship Series in all three seasons and has them positioned for another October run with an NL-best 78-54 record going into play Thursday.

So he was among those surprised to read in USA Today this week that according to several unnamed baseball executives "his fate is tenuous" with an early exit.

"The dialogue makes no sense,'' Maddon said. "That's why it's hard to even comment on it. I actually said, "That's actually dumb." That was my comment to it. And I stand by that.''

Maddon, 64, said if that narrative takes some of the focus or pressure off the players "so they can just go play, I'm kind of good with that actually.''
But with another season left on what with bonuses became a $28 million deal, he is not too concerned about his status: "When the time comes, I know we'll talk about it. I had not even thought about it until it was brought up.''

Otherwise, Maddon is doing pretty well these days, managing the team and pushing a series of charitable efforts, the latest a line of posters and prints combining art and baseball (see maddonart.com).

On some Rays-related topics, Maddon said:

* He has greatly enjoyed is reuniting after three seasons with former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who left Tampa Bay after the season and chose to sign with the Cubs, swayed by ownership's commitment to sustained success win among other factors, over the Giants and others.

"It was like there was no time elapsed,'' Maddon said. "He's still Jim Hickey, I promise you. It's seamless. Conversation is that easy. How he does his job is exactly the same. He's very good, very organized. All that stuff was in place. It's funny how it was three years and it was almost like I was with him the day before. The conversation, the method, he was exactly the same, which I appreciated.''

* The secret to ex-Rays star Ben Zobrist's resurgence this season at age 37 is a combination of the better shape he came in after extensive winter workouts and limiting his playing time to keep him rested.

* The Rays use of game openers "definitely makes sense" given their circumstances and personnel now, but "eventually they'll probably want to go back to tried and true" given the challenge of sustaining this setup due to the toll of the workload on the relievers. Correspondingly, he does not expect to see a large number of teams.

* He liked the "great return" the Rays got from Pittsburgh for Chris Archer in pitcher Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows, and also had nice things to say about outfielder Tommy Pham, who was acquired from St. Louis. "(GM) Erik Neander and (senior VP) Chaim (Bloom) have done a good job of getting nice returns,'' he said.

* He has watched enough Rays games to praise the job manager Kevin Cash has done, saying "they are playing hard with a lot of energy, and I really appreciate that.'' Noting the success they have had with their pitching and the good defense they are playing, Maddon said, "for the most part it looks like it's back to the tried and true" methods of former Rays teams.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge