Before his Cubs went out to try to pick up their seventh victory in a row, Joe Maddon spent far more time talking about his job security than his team that has sported the best record in the National League for more than a month.
Maddon hops on the Cubs flagship radio station 670 The Score for a visit every week and this week’s edition consisted of him answering questions about his job status, based off a report from USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale published Monday morning.
Nightengale wrote: “there are whispers [Maddon’s] job could be in jeopardy if [Cubs] don’t play deep into October.”
“Listen, I don’t get it,” Maddon said Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t understand it. It’s very uninteresting to me. I’m under contract, I’m very happy with what I’m doing and when the time is appropriate, I’m sure we’ll discuss it further. But I really don’t understand that.”
Maddon signed a five-year contract with the Cubs before 2015 that takes him through the end of the 2019 season. So he has at least 13 more months left on this deal, but both he and Cubs president Theo Epstein have confirmed there have been zero discussions about an extension at this time.
Talk of any possible extension makes more sense coming over the winter as opposed to when the team is in the middle of a pennant race and trying to chase the franchise’s second World Series ring in 110 years.
Maddon doesn’t know the rationale behind his “tenuous” job status, as multiple baseball executives framed it to Nightengale.
Maddon entered play Tuesday with a 369-246 record five months into his fourth year in Chicago. The Cubs have made it to the National League Championship Series every year he’s been at the helm, including, obviously the World Series and a championship in 2016.
He talked earlier this season about how he believes the shelf life of a guy in his position in each job is about 7-10 years before it’s time for a new challenge or before things start to get stale. The end of his current contract is still years away from reaching that mark.
On the other side of the coin, the impetus behind Nightengale’s story is the changing nature of managers around Major League Baseball right now. First-year managers with very little coaching experience are all the rage right now around the game and they’re still having success (think Joey Cora in Boston or Aaron Boone with the Yankees).
Maddon is tied with Mike Scioscia and Bruce Bochy for the highest manager’s salary and is 64 years old, though he’s not what anybody could call “old school” by any means.
Maddon marches to the beat of his own drum and it’s worked well for him in his 13 years as manager. He wouldn’t change a thing about his long road to the top step of a big-league dugout and first getting a chance at running a team at age 51.
Which is why he was stoked to see the Cardinals remove the interim tag and hand a three-year deal to Mike Schildt, a guy who, at age 50, has taken a Maddon-esque path to his first managerial job.
Maddon is very much about “today” and focusing on only what you can control. He preaches that to his players and puts it into practice about his own future, as well.
“Of course I want to come back,” Maddon said. “But it doesn’t matter to me when it’s resolved. I mean that sincerely. I’m not concerned about that kind of stuff. I’ve always believed that you work in a situation like here with the quality of people we work with, you rely on them to make that decision and when it’s the appropriate time.
“I don’t even think about it. If you guys don’t ask this question, I swear to you, I’ve not even thought about it once. Today, I get on the radio show, I’ve not even thought about it. I’m focused on tonight – [Mets starter Jacob] deGrom.
“…When I talk about present tense, I’m not kidding. I believe the right things will be done. There’s job security and there’s employment security. Job security is the place you work, employment security is the industry you work within. So I like to believe I’ve done well enough to have security in both areas.”