The Major League Baseball Commissioner's office sent out a press release on the Joe Maddon tampering investigation Wednesday afternoon. I post it here in its entirety:
Major League Baseball has concluded its tampering investigation regarding Joe Maddon’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays and his subsequent hiring as manager of the Chicago Cubs. The investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k) on Tampering.
That's it. Several months' worth of investigating, boiled down to two sentences and 43 words.
To me, it seemed all along that the timeline put forth by Maddon, his agent Alan Nero, and Theo Epstein and the Cubs was the only one that made sense. Maddon was informed by his agent after Andrew Friedman left Tampa for the Dodgers that he had the right to opt out. Maddon and the Rays tried to agree on a contract extension and failed. After that Maddon informed the Rays that he was opting out, and Theo waited for that opt-out to be officially filed with the commissioner's office before contacting Nero.
The Rays and their fans can be upset about this, but it was all done above board by Theo and the Cubs.