The Chicago Cubs are not bringing back Joe Maddon for a sixth year.
The Chicago Cubs and manager Joe Maddon have decided to part ways after five seasons.
Maddon, 65, led the Cubs to 90 or more victories in four of the five seasons he managed the club. The only season he did not reach that plateau was 2019.
"He's in a great position and I so look forward to his next chapter,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told reporters before Sunday's game. “And it's going to be good for the Cubs, too. I think we're at a point where we just need a little bit of change and something new and that's natural. That's the natural way of things. Change, if you embrace it the right way, is good for all of us."
The Cubs will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014, the season before Maddon got the job. In his five seasons, Chicago won the NL Central twice and won the 2016 World Series after a seven-game thriller against the Cleveland Indians.
The Cubs were in first place this season as late as Aug. 22, but have gone 11–15 in September, including losing nine in a row that knocked them out of postseason contention. Maddon finished his five years in Chicago with a record of 471-339 after the Cardinals routed the Cubs, 9-0, on Sunday to clinch the NL Central.
Maddon and Epstein met after Saturday night's win over the Cardinals in St. Louis over a bottle of wine in Epstein's hotel room to discuss Maddon's future with the club. The Cubs' decision not to re-sign Maddon's expiring contract didn't come as much of a shock, especially when the organization didn't extend him before the season started.
Even if the Cubs had made the playoffs in 2019, it wasn't certain they'd bring him back. The relaxed Maddon coaching style that worked wonders for the 2015-'16 teams was reportedly resonating less with the current group of players, and Epstein for a while had been mulling over whether or not a new voice was necessary to reignite the team.
Maddon, too, knew his time on the North Side was waning. He's said on multiple occassions over the last two seasons that changing managers can benefit both team and skipper when progress stalls. He echoed that sentiment again to reporters on Sunday.
"It's really a really good day," Maddon said. "It's a great day, actually, because like Theo said, I agree. You've heard me talk about it in the past—change is good. Change can be very good for everybody involved. I'm eternally grateful."
Maddon said he wants to manage at least three to five more years, and already, there is a market for him.
The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, who still have their managers, and the San Diego Padres are thought to be destinations for Maddon. The Angels are reportedly also interested in hiring him, despite current manager Brad Ausmus still under contract. Maddon spent 30 years within the Angels organization as a catcher, scout, coach and manager in their minor league system before working on the big-league coaching staff from 1994 through the 2005 season. He left to take his first managerial job with the Rays before the 2006 campaign.