By Dan Schlossberg
Even with three Manager of the Year awards on his shelf and five teams looking to hire, Joe Maddon’s phone isn’t ringing off the hook. Or at all.
Maddon, an innovative type who reached the World Series with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and the Chicago Cubs in 2016, last managed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, leaving in the middle of the 2022 campaign.
The apparent lack of interest stems from the fact that Maddon isn’t a huge fan of analytics. He’s been critical of front offices that wanted to lean on analytics, as opposed to Maddon’s hunches-based-upon-experienence.
Maddon had been linked to the Chicago White Sox before that team enlisted rookie pilot Pedro Grifol, who didn’t do much to protect the jobs of Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn in August.
He also wrote a book about his theories of managing. Its innovative title was Try Not to Suck.
Teams still looking for managers are the Mets, Astros, Angels, Brewers, Guardians, and Padres.
Also working against Maddon are his contract demands. Teams typically pay their managers so poorly that Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY wrote an article on that subject last summer.
Anybody who can lead the Cubs out of the wilderness after 108 years deserves solid compensation.
If he returns to the dugout wars, the 69-year-old Maddon would immediately become the oldest manager in the game — a year up on Bruce Bochy and Brian Snitker. But in baseball, age is a matter of mind; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
Maddon never played in the majors but he certainly understands the major-league mystique. He’s full of fun, surprises, and inspiration.
So what if he disdains analytics? His track record says that doesn’t really matter.
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is the author of more than 40 baseball books, including the forthcoming Home Run King: the Remarkable Record of Hank Aaron. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.