Frank Chance, Cap Anson, Charlie Grimm, and Joe Maddon. This is the Mount Rushmore of Chicago Cubs managers. Cap having the most games (and pre-World Series titles) and a record of 1,282-932. Grimm recording a .547 winning percentage and nearly 1,000 wins, to go along with his two league championships. Chance won four league championships, two World Series titles, and a .664 winning percentage. With a second NLCS win, and certainly another championship, Joe could move up the list.
Joe signed a five-year deal in November of 2014, paying roughly $25 million over the course of the deal. When Joe signed his original deal with the Cubs, he became the highest paid manager in the game, tying Mike Scioscia, and Bruce Bochy. At the time Joe’s resume was missing the rings that both Mike and Bruce had but we all know he closed that gap rather quickly.
With just two seasons remaining on that contract, the Cubs should seriously consider renewing his deal.
I know there will be some readers, and Joe critics, that will scream that they should look to someone more capable of managing a bullpen. Maybe they will explain how he tends to get too cute or creative with his lineups. Citing the failed experiment with Kyle Schwarber at the top of the lineup, or the revolving door in the leadoff spot since Dexter Fowler‘s departure.
While it isn’t been all roses, Joe is one of the top baseball managers in the game today. You would be splitting some serious hairs when arguing between Scioscia, Bochy, and Maddon. While there can be some good arguments against Joe’s decisions, there isn’t a single good argument to be made in defense of parting ways with him.
So with Joe’s current deal set to expire at the end of 2019, the Cubs should seriously consider an extension this offseason.
What a Maddon contract extension looks like
As mentioned, Joe is tied with two other managers for the highest salary. So while an extension typically includes a pay bump it might be difficult to predict what a salary might be for the acclaimed skipper. He is currently the oldest manager in baseball (thanks to the Dusty Baker firing in Washington) and his resume doesn’t outshine either Bochy or Scioscia’s. So to say a large increase along with an extension is probable, would likely be a fallacy.
Joe Torre was the highest paid manager of all-time, collecting a $7.5 million annual salary. Torre also had a Yankees record of 1,173-767 and those six pennants and four World Series titles weren’t too shabby either. Maddon isn’t exactly at the Torre level, but he does have as many championships as Scioscia, the same winning percentage, and has proven to steady the waves between successful seasons better than Bochy.
I think a good starting point for salary would be between $6 and $6.5 million a season. This rewards Joe’s success, being the second Cubs manager to ever bring the team to three consecutive postseasons. It rewards Joe for orchestrating a World Series champion. It rewards Joe and pays him for the continued success of the franchise.
This is also not a gross overpayment in reference to the others in the league. Mike Scioscia could very well equal Joe’s raise as his contract is up at the end of 2018.
A Maddon contract length
Mike Scioscia received a 10-year extension in 2009. Now Joe comps well against Mike, but a deal that long would take Joe into his mid-70’s. I don’t know if he or the Cubs are looking to make that long of a commitment. From Joe’s perspective, he has genuine interests in things outside of baseball. From the Cubs perspective, Theo and Jed are under contract until 2021. Theo said, when he left Boston, it is good to change things up every 10 years or so. The end of 2021 will be 10 years.
“But it’s too early to judge,” Theo told reporters when he signed his five-year extension. “We’ll see how I feel at that point. Certainly, there’s some symmetry to 10 years. But it’s just too early. So many things can happen between now and then. I’m really not thinking beyond trying to win a World Series for this organization.”
While Theo leaving isn’t a sure bet, pairing the contracts to end at the same time would make a lot of sense. If Theo decided to leave, Joe would also have the freedom to do the same. The uncertainty of new leadership could entice Joe to want another challenge, or perhaps he will be ready to retire.
The thought of Joe retiring just stings.
In any event, a deal ending in the 2021 season, worth around $6.5 million a season, should probably get things done.
The Cubs absolutely love to announce big news just before the annual Cubs Convention. In 2017 the Cubs announced that David Ross was being brought in a front office support role. They announced that Ryne Sandberg would be an ambassador for the club in 2016.
I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t announce a Joe Maddon contract extension at the 2018 Cubs Convention. Well, outside of the whole not doing it yet sort of reason.
This would also show Joe that in light of the coaching turnover the team experienced after the 2017 season, their faith in him is unwavering. It is only a two-year extension, so unless they plan on a change, there’s really no harm. This should certainly happen, and soon.