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Maddon: When rumor angst rises it can ‘cut at the fabric’ of team

Joe Maddon

MILWAUKEE – Cubs manager Joe Maddon has plenty to worry about managing his own pitchers.

But he can empathize with some of the internal drama stirring on the other side of town as the Cubs prepare to travel south for the crosstown series, at least as it might relate to established young players suddenly experiencing trade-rumor anxiety.

Sox general manager Rick Hahn set that in motion late in the week when he declared the Sox open for business as a potential seller at the Aug. 1 trade deadline – with ace Chris Sale and his team-friendly contract suddenly on everybody’s radar.

“Obviously, it’s only going to occur if your team’s struggling a bit also. If you’re doing well that doesn’t happen,” Maddon said Sunday in the aftermath of Sale’s uniform-cutting tantrum and five-game suspension. “From a manager’s perspective, it’s not as difficult. The player himself, and then the inner politics of the clubhouse, that’s where it becomes more difficult.

“You don’t even know what those conversations sound like and how that cuts at the fabric of what you’re attempting to do. No pun intended.”

Maddon, who paused to contain a straight face, dealt first-hand with that as manager with the Rays when his ace David Price was shopped and eventually traded to the Tigers.

“It was hard for David. It really was difficult,” Maddon said. “If it’s your first time being included in trade conversations it’s hard for the guy. Regardless of knowing that you’re going to end up in a good spot and that you’re going to be wanted. You might really like where you’re at; it’s your first organization; you have a lot of friendships.”

Sale is scheduled to face the Cubs Thursday.