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Thursday Joe Maddon Watch

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The Cubs haven't hired Joe Maddon yet. They seem likely to. Here's what we know as of Thursday morning.

Brian Blanco

The curious little dance that has as its likely result the hire of Joe Maddon as Cubs manager is continuing Thursday morning, with little real news or change since Wednesday.

Since you probably want to discuss this further, I thought I'd create a place for you to do that, and also pass along this article from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, for the perspective from Florida. Topkin writes:

Though agent Alan Nero told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday night there was "not a done deal," there were indications and several reports that something could be finalized between Maddon and the Cubs and announced as soon as Friday.

If it is, the Rays might be upset enough to file a tampering complaint with Major League Baseball over the hiring, though it's not clear what that could lead to in terms of a decision or any potential damages.

I still don't quite see any "tampering" here, presuming Maddon was telling the truth when he said he had "forgotten" about his opt-out clause until his agent reminded him. Nothing that's happened so far, in my view, suggests that the Cubs had any interest in replacing Rick Renteria until after Maddon's opt-out last Friday. Here's more, including a quote from Nero:

The Cubs, as they have since Maddon left the Rays, had nothing to say. Not only would completing a contract during the Series finale have angered MLB officials, but the Cubs have to deal with the somewhat sensitive issue of already having a manager, Rick Renteria, who is signed through 2016.

Renteria issued a statement Monday saying he remained focused on his job, and agent Ken Solomon said Wednesday, "Nothing's changed since Rick's statement."

Nero, who is based in Chicago, said he felt bad about the situation: "All this speculation with the Cubs has stabbed Renteria right in the heart."

I do feel badly for Rick Renteria, who did a reasonable job in his first year as a big-league manager. As we've discussed before, this is just "business" and I'm certain he understands that, though he'll surely not be happy to lose his position, even though he'll be getting paid for 2015 and 2016. The article does note:

Despite the flurry of reports hours before Wednesday's first pitch of World Series Game 7, Nero insisted Maddon was still considering several options, with offers for at least one managing job, front-office roles and a TV gig.

So although it appears that Joe Maddon could be the Cubs' manager by Friday, or early next week, it's certainly possible it might not happen at all.

That ought to give you enough to get revved up about today. Have at it.