By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor
After a five-season run that included four postseason trips and a 2016 World Series championship, Joe Maddon is officially out as manager of the Chicago Cubs following Sunday's season finale.
Maddon and President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein jointly met with media to announce the news prior to the Cubs' season finale in St. Louis.
Maddon said the Cubs never offered him an extension, and that "sometimes it’s just time to do something else and no one is to blame." Epstein praised Maddon, noting there will be a "bidding war" for the 65-year-old, who says he still has "a good 3-to-5 years" left in him.
With the Cubs since 2015, Maddon recorded a 471-338 record and a franchise-record 19 postseason wins. Maddon's .582 regular season winning percentage ranks second-best in franchise history, trailing only Frank Chance (768-389/.664). The 2016 championship was the Cubs' first in 108 years. The team posted a winning record all five seasons under Maddon.
So, now that Maddon is a free-agent for the first time since his 2006-2014 managerial run with the Tampa Bay Rays (which included a 2008 World Series appearance opposite the Phillies), what's next? According to baseball scribe Bob Nightengale, the top three potential landing spots for Maddon in 2020 are the New York Mets, San Diego Padres, and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Teams currently with managerial openings for 2020 include the San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Padres and Cubs. The Phillies have not yet reported the fate of Gabe Kapler, and neither the Mets for their current manager. The Phillies and Mets could soon join the aforementioned list of those needing new managers, notes Jon Heyman. Most, if not all, will be bidding for Maddon, as suggested by Epstein.
In two seasons with the Phillies, Kapler is 161-162 (.498). A win in Sunday's season finale would even the mark, and while the Phillies have been playing their best baseball since the end of their most recent postseason run, that still may not be enough.
Maddon managing the 2020 Phillies has been long rumored, and the Cubs' Sunday announcement that they are parting ways with the veteran has only increased those chances of the move becoming a reality.