Cubs

Cubs finally cleared in Joe Maddon tampering investigation

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Cubs finally cleared in Joe Maddon tampering investigation

Six months after hiring their star manager, the Cubs have finally been cleared in the Joe Maddon tampering case.

The Tampa Bay Rays pushed Major League Baseball to launch the investigation after Maddon used an escape clause in his contract that triggered once executive Andrew Friedman left to run baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers last October.

“I don’t really know why it had to take so long,” Maddon said Wednesday at Wrigley Field. “We’re all glad that’s in the rear-view mirror right now.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred had anticipated a resolution by Opening Day, but there was apparently no smoking gun. Multiple Cubs officials had turned over laptop computers and cell phones to investigators. MLB’s communications department released a two-sentence statement through its official Twitter account:

“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.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

“I suppose you could say ‘vindication,’ just because it had been a public process,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “But there was never any concern of any wrongdoing, so we did encourage a thorough process, and I’m glad they did that.”

Alan Nero, Maddon’s agent, has an office in downtown Chicago and a history of making creative deals (see the Lou Piniella trade that allowed him to leave the Seattle Mariners and go home to manage the Devil Rays). Nero had repeatedly denied the accusations from a Rays organization that had to be feeling jilted.

During the negotiating window, Maddon actually offered to stay with the Rays for significantly less than what it ultimately cost the Cubs, proposing something in the range of four years and $16 million total.

Theo Epstein didn’t hesitate once Maddon became a free agent. The team president had said last September that Rick Renteria would “absolutely” return to manage the Cubs in 2015.

Sorry, Ricky. Epstein made the cold-blooded decision to fire Renteria and made Maddon an offer he couldn’t refuse. Maddon got five years and $25 million guaranteed after making around $2 million per season near the end of his run with the Rays.

So far, Maddon has been worth every penny, creating an attitude, welcoming young players, selling the organization to the public and dealing with the Chicago media. The Cubs are relevant and will close out April with a 12-8 record. 

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Why did this drag out so long?

“I think it took six months because there’s a lot of data,” Hoyer said. “They had a lot of things to go through. They interviewed a lot of people and they were thorough. I’m sure they’re also probably working on a number of other investigations at the same time. So the idea that this was the only thing they had going on in a huge industry is probably false.

“We’re glad that the process is over. We’re glad that the result that we expected came through. Now we can put it behind us and never talk about it.”

Maddon spent 31 years in the Angels organization before the Devil Rays gave him a chance. Tampa Bay’s young core absorbed 197 losses combined in 2006 and 2007 before a worst-to-first turnaround that ended in the 2008 World Series. That began a run of five 90-win seasons in seven years.

“I stay in touch with a lot of different (Rays) guys,” Maddon said. “From my perspective, obviously, there’s zero hard feelings. These are my guys for many years. Without the opportunity that they gave me, I would not be sitting here right now. I’ll always be grateful for that. Believe me, man, when that reunion occurs like 10 or 15 years from now, I definitely hope to be there.”

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Luke Stuckmeyer and Tony Andracki discuss the comments Chili Davis made after being fired as Cubs hitting coach, ask if the Cubs struggles on offense were Davis' fault or the players and what Anthony Iapoce will be walking into as he tries to gets the team back on track a the plate.

 

Listen to the entire podcast here, or in the embedded player below:

 

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers.