The Minnesota Twins have been taking their time in replacing Ron Gardenhire, their skipper of the past 13 seasons. While Joe Maddon, who opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday has not missed a step in finding a new club right away or so sources say.
The Twins and Maddon have had absolutely no contact, according to Mike Bernadino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
So there doesn’t appear to be a match there. Maddon is looking for a $5 million a year contract which is expensive for a team like the Twins and Maddon wants to manage a team that will be contending soon.
The Twins are not that team being that it appears that firing their long-time manager might be the first step in a huge overhaul for the club. The club finished last in the American League Central with a record of 70-92.
Plus, the Twins have their managerial candidate pool narrowed down and nearly decided. Currently the candidate list is supposedly down to three: Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and former Twins’ players Paul Molitor and Doug Mientkiewicz.
Each of the candidates have returned for a second round of interviews and whispers around the league give Molitor the edge, although still nothing has been officially announced.
Now the latest word out there is that Maddon will sign with the Chicago Cubs by the end of the week. The Hot Stove season will have just begun and the Cubs current manager Rick Renteria may be suddenly out of a job.
The Cubs would have to buyout the last two years on Renteria’s contract but general manager Theo Epstein has said that his team plans to contend in 2015. They may need Joe Maddon to do just that.
With all of their young talent plus an added veteran or two (rumor has it they’ve been looking into trading for 30-year-old left-handed veteran starter Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies, if the team’s name surfaces on the approved trade list that Hamels has to hand over to the Phillies on Saturday) the Cubs might just be able to pull off contending in the competitive N.L. Central next season.
Maddon would certainly be a huge asset for the club given his experience managing in the super competitive A.L. East, with the Rays always having to fight their way up to the top against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and now Baltimore Orioles.
Maddon took the Rays to the postseason four times in nine season with Tampa Bay.
According to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune the Cubs were set on keeping Renteria at least for the remainder of his contract, not more than a few weeks ago. The availability of Maddon changed all of that.
There were also rumors over the weekend that Epstein had traveled to Florida to meet with Maddon. Maddon’s agent, Alan Nero, denied that the meeting occured but that doesn’t mean the two didn’t correspond in some capacity.
Since then Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Cubs
“have been in discussions this week with free-agent manager Joe Maddon, could have an answer by Friday. Either they will land Maddon, finding the perfect manager for their multiyear rebuilding mission, or they will have swung and missed, leaving them with a mess on their hands with incumbent Rick Renteria.”
The Cubs are hoping to hear bam Maddon soon, meaning that the team could have the manager they have been hoping to find by Halloween.
The Twins meanwhile are continuing their slow process of interviews and re-interviews, still it appears that Molitor is the front runner for the job.