All Cubs Manager Joe Maddon has done is win, and he could be fired in the next two weeks. I wish I was dead wrong about this, but I don’t think so.
He has no contract. When they won a World Series in 2016, there was no way you thought Joe would not be extended at least 2-3 years. Here we are in early July, and the team looks a lot like it did every year after they won their championship.
Same players, same results: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over, and over, and expecting a different result. That’s where we are. When Theo got to Chicago he talked about his “brand” of baseball. This included high average hitters, taking walks, and low strikeouts. Outside of Rizzo and Bryant (Zobrist if/when he comes back) Theo has really done little to acquire those type of players. Javy Baez, as good as he is, is a “boom or bust” type player. Anthony Rizzo continues to ignore left field for some odd reason. Mark Grace made a living hitting the opposite way. I love Rizzo, he is my favorite (tied with Javy), but he has kind of stopped making improvements to his game. If they aren’t hitting home runs, they aren’t scoring runs.
Call to the pen: I thought things would help when Kimbrel was added to the roster, and was called up. He’s had a mixed bag so far, and has not been the savior. He looks very average. The rest of the bullpen has been up and down as well. I personally would have left Alzolay in the pen as a middle reliever. He could have built up his arm strength, and bailed out an aging rotation. What do I know?
Theo’s comments: Theo has been commenting recently about the team, and it seems like that also hints at making a change. Could he be trying to light a fire? Maybe. I wonder if he extended Joe right now, would that relax the team? You can always fire him after the season if it doesn’t work out.
Dazed and confused: The players seem to be going through the motions. Maybe they think they can turn it on whenever they want. In many wins this year, they did exactly that. I know one thing, I am tired of all the ups and downs.
The good, the bad, and the ugly: Jon Lester has been the good. Cubs would not have won the World Series without him. He had a rocky start in 2015, but came on and was a dominant pitcher in 2016. He’s been hot and cold this year, but does he have enough to get the club to the playoffs? Jason Heyward has been good and bad, but had a big part in the championship as well. His contract is a little ugly, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from spending bad money on Darvish, and some bullpen pitchers. Chatwood hasn’t lived up to his contract, or expectations. They have Baez, Bryant, and Contreras to pay in the next few years. Don’t think they can keep them all.
Joe has been solid despite over-tinkering with the lineup, and having a short hook with starting pitchers. He’s gone to three straight NLCS, and has 4 90+ win seasons. That’s not accidental. All that means nothing as the team seems to be floundering, and flirting with .500 baseball. I’m rooting for him, but I know the reality is, he is closer to the end of his career with the Cubs than not.