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The Cubs And Joe Maddon

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This started out to be a quiet Friday afternoon. It isn't now.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Maddon is widely regarded as one of the best managers in baseball. When Rays GM Andrew Friedman left the club to join the Dodgers, it was rumored that he'd want Maddon to come along to Los Angeles with him.

The usual "vote of confidence" was given to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, and Maddon was under contract to the Rays through 2015.

However! According to Cot's, Maddon had the right to opt out of his contract if the general manager left, and in fact, he has done so:

Ken Rosenthal has further information:

And:

Well. The Cubs just re-upped most of their coaching staff and seemed pleased with what Rick Renteria did in his first year as manager. Rosenthal says the Cubs could "pay off the rest of his deal," and in fact, they probably could without too much difficulty. Cot's says Renteria is signed for two more years with team options for 2017 and 2018; it doesn't list Renteria's salary but my understanding is that he's one of the lower-paid managers in the game.

Maddon would likely wind up as one of the highest-paid. If Theo & Jed go after him, it would be a sign that the Cubs really do intend to try to compete for the division title in 2015, because you wouldn't sign a manager like that -- playoff- and World Series-experienced -- unless that was your intention.

I'd love to see Joe Maddon manage the Cubs. He's one of the smartest guys in the game and has perennially gotten maximum production and effort out of teams that didn't necessarily on paper look like contenders. Four playoff appearances and one World Series in the last seven seasons, with winning records two of the other three years, make him well-suited to lead a team toward the postseason.

If the Cubs think they can do it, I'd say go for it, sign him, thank Rick Renteria for his work in 2014. Incidentally, there's no way Renteria would wind up as a bench coach under Maddon -- that would be way too awkward. Most likely, Maddon would bring along his bench coach, Dave Martinez, unless Martinez then succeeded to the Rays' managerial position himself.

Well, that ought to shake up your Friday afternoon. Have at it.