Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein announced prior to Sunday’s season finale that the manager Joe Maddon will not receive a new contract and that the team will have a new manager in 2020:
Joe and Theo got together last night, split a bottle of wine in Theo's hotel room and came to the conclusion that their five year run together had come to an end.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 29, 2019
This news is far from a surprise, just because the Cubs declined to give the 65-year-old Maddon a contract extension last offseason heading into the final season of a five-year deal, and with the Cubs having collapsed over the past six weeks, failing to make the playoffs for the first time during Maddon’s tenure after sitting in first place in the NL Central as late as August 22. Maddon, always a champion of zaniness and surprising, often-entertaining stunts, seemed to be somewhat out of his element this year as he attempted to take on a more serious persona.
While the Cubs seemed to be ready for a new voice in the dugout, Maddon’s impact on the team — or at the very least, the fact that his arrival directly coincided with the start of the most successful era in franchise history — will not be forgotten any time soon. Coming out of a full teardown and rebuild, the Cubs surprisingly snapped a seven-year playoff drought and advanced to the NLCS in 2015, Maddon’s first year in the dugout. As previously stated, he shepherded them in 2016 to their first World Series victory since 1908. And though both seasons felt like disappointments because there was so much talk of a “Cubs dynasty” with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Báez being transformative superstars in their twenties (and Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell also expected to be part of that group, but never really reaching that level), it’s worth noting that he still led them to a 92-win season and an NLCS appearance in 2017, then a 95-win campaign in 2018, though that ultimately ended in a late-season collapse and a loss in the NL Wild Card game after falling to the Brewers in a Game 163 that determined the division champion.
Maddon goes down as the fifth-winningest manager (471-338) in Cubs history, with three of the four men ahead of him — Cap Anson, Frank Chance, and Leo Durocher — being Hall of Famers. His .582 winning percentage ranks third in club history, following only Chance and Al Spalding. With the caveat that he’s one of only three Cubs bench bosses to manage during the two-wild-card era — and that two of his four playoff teams relied on the wild card to get into the playoffs — Maddon’s string of four straight postseason berths from 2015-18 is the longest in franchise history.