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Just asking: What if Joe Maddon wins bigger without the Cubs than the Cubs do without him?

And the mother of all potential outcomes: What if Maddon wins his next World Series before the Cubs win theirs? The answers pretty clearly start with this: Cubs president Theo Epstein — a rock-star future Hall of Famer himself — is going to have to wear it. It’s all going to reflect right back on him.

Chicago Cubs Introduce Craig Kimbrel
Theo Epstein is on to Cubs manager No. 4.
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Joe Maddon is going to walk into his next gig and blow the roof off the joint.

He’ll crush it. He’ll kill it. He’ll be a rock star all over again.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from Cubs president Theo Epstein, the very man who dumped Maddon last weekend in St. Louis.

‘‘Joe is going to go somewhere else and dominate,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘He’s going to change the culture. He’s going to get the players to relax, be themselves, get the absolute most out of their ability, come together as a team, establish a new identity. There’s going to be an elan established in that organization that’s going to carry them forward to a lot of great successes in many years, wherever he may end up.’’

New York? Philadelphia? Pittsburgh? San Diego?

It doesn’t seem to matter where Maddon goes. He is, after all, the best manager in Cubs history. He already has built a legacy that will live on forever. He’s a future Hall of Famer and — no hyperbole here, pal — a living legend.

Again, though, don’t take it from me. Those were Epstein’s own words at his annual end-of-season meeting with the media Monday at Wrigley Field.

At times, it sounded almost like the leading candidate for the Cubs’ managerial opening should be, well, let’s just say his name rhymes with Moe Jaddon.

Look, I’m not picking on Epstein here. He was terrific in a Q&A session that lasted approximately 847 years — or at least seemed to (and not because of him). In fact, it was a little less than an hour and a half, with the razor-sharp 45-year-old executive sharing, as usual, his thoughtfulness and agreeability in large measures.

Some of us have attention spans that aren’t built any better for marathon news conferences than they were for interminable college classes held in giant lecture halls. Crack open that notebook, click that pen and — uh-oh — there goes the mind, off and wandering.

As Epstein fielded questions like a Gold Glover, my mind repeatedly went here:

Just what in the heck is everybody going to say if Maddon hits the ground running, like he did in Chicago, and wins bigger without the Cubs than the Cubs do without him?

And the mother of all potential outcomes: What if Maddon wins his next World Series before the Cubs win theirs?

The answers pretty clearly start with this: Epstein — a rock-star future Hall of Famer himself — is going to have to wear it. It’s all going to reflect right back on him.

He’ll be known around here as the brilliant architect who built a Cubs champion and then prematurely, foolishly burned the house down.

He took on that risk the moment he kicked Maddon to the curb — amicably, of course.

‘‘I’m up for everything that comes with this role,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m up for high expectations. I want what’s best for the Chicago Cubs, and that means sometimes you have to make tough decisions.

‘‘If you ever make [a decision] based on perception or having to go through some tough times personally because of it or because you fear that the ramifications of something that comes next are not as good as what you had before, then you’re just doing a disservice to the Cubs and you shouldn’t be in this role.’’

Epstein has been more than gracious in his comments about Maddon, and the admiration and fondness between the two certainly are genuine. But this is equally true: Epstein is all-in in his belief that Maddon had to go. One gets the feeling Epstein didn’t have to swallow all that hard before making something he had been thinking about for at least a year official.

Sports execs traditionally are allowed to hire and fire only so many coaches or managers before they, too, get the boot. Epstein’s circumstance is different, unique. The next Cubs manager will be the fourth he has hired. But Dale Sveum and Rick Renteria were bit players in a successful rebuild, and Maddon was an enormous success.

Figure Epstein has one last managerial move to make with the Cubs. Boom or bust, he’ll be on to the next challenge. Someone else can oversee the next rebuild.

‘‘I’m ready to build the next Cubs championship team,’’ he said. ‘‘I think that’s what our fans deserve, and that means, in some areas, some really hard decisions. It means embracing the future and moving on from the past.’’

It means wearing it if his next manager fails to outperform Maddon. Happy hiring.