CHICAGO — Joe Maddon was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs on Friday, hours after the team fired Rick Renteria.
Chicago, without a World Series title since 1908, announced the hiring about two hours after announcing the firing.
Long regarded as one of baseball’s best managers, Maddon opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay after Andrew Friedman left the Rays’ front office to take over the Los Angeles Dodgers’ baseball operations on Oct. 14.
Maddon had a 754-705 record in nine seasons in Tampa Bay, leading the club to four playoff appearances, two American League East titles and a five-game loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 World Series. The two-time AL Manager of the Year was the bench coach for six seasons under Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, then was hired by Tampa Bay in November 2005.
Renteria had two years left on the contract he signed with the Cubs last November. Cubs President Theo Epstein said Renteria deserved to come back next season as the Cubs continue their rebuilding effort, but Maddon’s unexpected decision to opt out of his contract with the Rays changed the equation.
“Maddon — who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us — had become a free agent,” Epstein said in a statement. “We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe.”
Epstein said the Cubs were “transparent” at all times with Renteria once Maddon became available two weeks ago.
“Rick often said he was the beneficiary of the hard work of others who came before him,” he said. “Now, in the young players he helped, we reap the benefits of his hard work as we move forward. He deserved better, and we wish him nothing but the best.”
Renteria’s agent, Ken Solomon, declined comment. He also said Renteria will not comment.
Photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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