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. 

[MORE: Rizzo wants to become complete player]

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.”

Former Cubs outfielder Jim Edmonds goes to hospital to get tested for COVID-19 after showing 'severe symptoms'

Former Cubs outfielder Jim Edmonds goes to hospital to get tested for COVID-19 after showing 'severe symptoms'

Former Cubs outfielder Jim Edmonds went to a hospital to get tested for COVID-19 and is showing what he described as “severe symptoms.”

Edmonds shared the news in an Instagram story on Saturday. In one of the videos in the story, Edmonds said he tested positive for pneumonia, but is still awaiting results on the COVID-19 test. 

“Held off as long as I could,” he wrote in one of the posts. “I thought I was tough enough to get through. This virus is no joke.”

The 49-year-old won eight Gold Gloves and was a four-time All-Star. During his playing career, Edmonds was most known for his time with the Angels and Cardinals, but spent part of the 2008 season with the Cubs. In 85 games with the Cubs, he hit 19 home runs with a .937 OPS. He has been an analyst on Cardinals pregame and postgame shows since 2013.

Javier Báez' ambidexterity and other facts about the Cubs superstar shortstop

Javier Báez' ambidexterity and other facts about the Cubs superstar shortstop

Javier Báez has endeared himself to Cubs and baseball fans alike with his wicked defensive skills, daredevil baserunning and powerful bat. Once a utility player of sorts, Báez earned the starting shortstop job and spot in the heart of the Cubs order.

As El Mago’s legend continues to grow on the field, here are some things to know about him.

1. Báez was born in Puerto Rico in 1992 and moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 2005 with his mother, sister and three brothers. He learned English by teaching himself words (even if he wasn’t sure the meaning) and picking up words from friends.

2. Báez throws and bats right-handed, but he’s a natural lefty. This helps explain why he’s one of the best taggers in the game, making seemingly impossible plays.

Last season, Báez took a left-handed at-bat during a blowout win over the Reds. To make the situation even more unique, Reds catcher Kyle Farmer was on the mound. Báez flew out, but his swing (per usual) was vicious.

3. Báez is the cover athlete for MLB The Show 20. Much like in real-life, Báez’ skills in the game are electric.

4. Báez and his wife, Irmarie, got married in January 2019. The couple had their first son, Adrian Javier Báez Marquez, in June 2018, and he looks like a baseball superstar in the making.

That bat flip, though. He’s taking after dad already.

 

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