Joe Maddon to Chicago Cubs: Another Reason the Cincinnati Reds Won’t Win in 2015


Aug 31, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon (70) reacts in the dugout against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

About a month ago, I outlined the reasons that we can expect the Cincinnati Reds to miss out on the playoffs in 2015, and one of those culprits was the rise of the Chicago Cubs. With the Cubs expected to announce the hiring of former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon as their new skipper today, the Windy City bunch become even more of a concern for the Reds. Maddon’s arrival in Chicago will negatively and directly impact the Reds in at least three key areas: on the field, in in player recruitment, in attendance and, ultimately, in the standings.

More from Cincinnati Reds

On the Field

Maddon is well-known for working his magic with the low-payroll Rays, often melding their less-than-stellar conglomeration of players into contenders, or into outright champions. Of course, much of the credit for the Rays unexpected success over the last decade has to go to now-departed general manager Andrew Friedman, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, for finding undervalued players. Maddon, though, was the on-field mastermind who had to make it all work on game day, and it he did it masterfully.

You have to expect that Maddon will work well with Cubs’ cheese Theo Epstein and will be able to put Chicago’s big-dollar lineup in position to win every day. With 19 games against the Cubs on the 2015 schedule, the Reds will have their hands full with Maddon’s tactics all season long.

Player Recruitment

Players want to win championships and make money in the process. The Cubs can provide the latter, and Maddon has proven that he can help get teams to the former, so Chicago NL suddenly becomes a very attractive landing place for free agents and trade candidates. Several of Maddon’s former players have also been scattered to the winds by the Rays’ cost-conscious methods, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them come to ChiTown for a reunion with their former field boss. Finally, current Rays might make attractive trade targets, given their level of comfort with Maddon and his ways.

With all that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see any of Jon Lester, James Shields, David Price, Ben Zobrist or Evan Longoria end up with the Cubs in the short term. Nothing is out of the question at this point.


Not only are the Cubs building an exciting team for the near and far future, and not only is there an expectation that the winning will start to some degree in 2015, but Maddon adds a genuinely interesting personality to the front of the mix. People will tune in their radios and TVs to see what Maddon has to say as Spring Training approaches, and on game day. There will also be some extra fannies at the park this season, and some of them will be there just to see what the new manager is all about. With his Florida connections, Maddon may even draw in some snowbirds who long ago gave up going to Wrigley in the summer but are willing to take one last stab a trusting this organization.

In the Stadings

Maddon may be the last piece that the Cubs need to make the leap into Wild Card (or better) contention in 2015. With solid game management and the ability to attract better players, as outlined above, the Cubs should start moving up the standings immediately. As attendance and interest rises with the victory total, the Cubs will have even more money to play with.

If all goes as planned, Epstein has set the Cubs up to bury the rest of the NL Central within a few years, and that may even impact other division teams’ ability to snag a Wild Card slot. With the Cubs several lengths in front of the field, the Reds could slug it out on a yearly basis to just reach .500

Of course, many such plans for world baseball dominance have come and gone over the years, and you only need to look at the current incarnation of the Los Angeles Dodgers for proof that it’s not easy to build a horsehide juggernaut in MLB. Still, Joe Maddon’s arrival gives Cubs fans reason for legitimate hope, and Reds fans yet another reason to look longingly back at the heady days of 2010.