October 3, 2018 / 8:21 PM / 2 months ago

Cubs' prez Epstein: Maddon will be back in 2019

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is coming back for a fifth season, team president Theo Epstein said Wednesday afternoon.

Oct 2, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon speaks at a press conference after losing to the Colorado Rockies in the 2018 National League wild card playoff baseball game at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

“Joe’s status remains unchanged,” Epstein said. “He’s the manager of this team. I’m very happy about that.

“I look forward to him coming back next year with some unfinished business as we all have in this organization.”

There had been some speculation about Maddon’s future in Chicago following a disappointing finish. The Cubs, who had the best record in the National League for much of the second half this season, lost an NL Central tiebreaker to Milwaukee on Monday and lost the NL wild-card game to Colorado on Tuesday to be eliminated from the postseason.

Epstein put the blame on the Cubs’ offense, saying the team would still be in the playoffs had it scored more than one run in its three losses over the past week, including a 2-1 defeat in 13 innings Tuesday.

“Something happened in our offense in the second half where we stopped walking, we stopped hitting home runs, we stopped hitting the ball in the air and we stopped being productive,” Epstein said.

USA Today reported Maddon will not be offered a contract extension, as he enters the final year of a five-year, $25 million pact.

Maddon, 64, was the National League Manager of the Year in 2015 and helped the Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years in 2016.

He has a 387-261 (.597) record with the Cubs and is 1,168-990 (.541) overall in 15 seasons as a manager, including prior stints with Tampa Bay and Anaheim.

As for the makeup of the roster, Epstein acknowledged there is plenty of work to do.

He did not commit to keeping shortstop Addison Russell, who was suspended for 40 games on Wednesday, but said the Cubs very much would like to retain left-hander Cole Hamels. Hamels was acquired from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline.

In addition, Epstein said there is no plan for Kris Bryant to have shoulder surgery. However, the Cubs are awaiting a full medical report before giving Bryant his offseason plan.

—Field Level Media

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