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Joe Maddon denies that Cubs ‘caved’ to star players in firing Chili Davis

Cubs manager Joe Maddon disputed a New York media report that the Cubs “caved” to the wishes of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in deciding to fire hitting coach Chili Davis after last season.

“That’s not why that happened at all,” Maddon said Thursday during a media session at his annual “Thanksmas” charity event at St. Leonard’s Ministries on the Near West Side.

In a column this week about the Mets’ newly hired hitting coach, SNY.tv cited unnamed sources saying that Cubs team president Theo Epstein did not want to fire Davis, and Epstein “thinks it’s B.S. that the players complained” but ultimately relented to the wishes of “at least a few of his star hitters,” including Bryant and Rizzo.

Davis suggested as much without naming names during an interview with the Sun-Times after his firing.

Rizzo with Davis during spring training last year / John Antonoff photo

And Cubs insiders acknowledge that Bryant was one of the first players who did not mesh with Davis’ coaching message.

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But Maddon denied that players influenced the firing directly.

“Everybody talks at the end of the season. It just turned out to be the way it did,” he said. “I think Chili Davis is an outstanding hitting coach.

“He’s one of the best in the business, there’s no question about that,” added Maddon, who has known Davis since their work together with the Angels more than 20 years ago. “It’s just a matter of we talked about fit and just [had] different discussions at the end of the year.

“He and I stay in contact, and I wish him well. I’m certain that the Met hitters are going to love him.”