Even with the firing of Joe Maddon as their manager, the Chicago Cubs did right in the first place by bringing him in to right the ship back in 2015. All he managed to do was lead the team to the playoffs in four of his five seasons, including one postseason trip that resulted in breaking the franchise’s World Series drought, officially making him one of the team’s most successful managers in their storied history.
Struggles are never acceptable as a Cubs’ manager, apparently, as Maddon was let go after his team faltered down the stretch in 2019, resulting in losing its hold on its postseason berth and ultimately falling short.
While their 2018 season ended in unceremonious fashion, as they fell in Game 163 to the Milwaukee Brewers for the National Central crown, it ended up being trumped by their loss soon after to the Colorado Rockies in the Wild Card game, which they hosted (just like Game 163).
But the struggles for the team cannot fall squarely on the shoulders of the manager, even though they mostly do. For Maddon, having to deal with a faltering bullpen that never was able to be a trusted asset in any game this year, combined with legal issues following the team everywhere they went due to the absolute disgusting actions of shortstop Addison Russell was what plagued this team this season, something that even the best managers will have troubles with.
While much shorter than it should have been, the leeway that Maddon had was pulled out from underneath him when it shouldn’t have been, and the type of impact that he had on the Cubs’ franchise will be felt for many seasons to come.
All signs point to Maddon becoming the next manager over in Anaheim, as the Los Angeles Angels, who moved on from former Houston Astros catcher Brad Ausmus after only season, have interviewed him already and are looking to bring him back into the fold. Having served as the team’s bench coach from 2000-2005 and having played for the team as well, the ties that Maddon has to this franchise are hard not to notice.
His combined 31 years of being within the Angels organization, both as a player and as a coach, ultimately looks to be leading him back to this team – just this time is as the team’s manager.
Tasked with helping revive a team that has somehow managed to waste Mike Trout‘s prestigious career up to this point, Maddon will be looked to early and often to help show this fan base that they do not have to wait any longer – the playoffs are going to become a regular occurrence to end every season.
Linked to superstar ace Gerrit Cole in the offseason due to his UCLA ties and the team’s need for another pitcher to combine with superstar Shohei Ohtani, Maddon would finally be able to have a solid bullpen, combined with a top-heavy starting rotation, to finally give Trout a fighting chance at not having to put the entire team’s postseason chances on his back.
Maddon definitely still has the skills to be a successful manager for many more years to come, and while the expectations still are for the Angels to make the playoffs, the California market for baseball is much more forgiving than that of Chicago’s. For the Angels, once they are able to bring in Maddon, their playoff chances automatically improve drastically, and these fans may finally have something to cheer about besides finding out that Trout resigned for what will most likely be the rest of his career.