The Chicago Cubs are keeping manager Joe Maddon for the 2019 season, ending speculation that they would fire him after losing to the Colorado Rockies in the NL Wild Card Game.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today broke the news.
Joe Maddon will remain as #Cubs manager through 2019, but there will be no extension. The Cubs will make a determination on his future after 2019 when his 5-year, $28 million contract expires.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 3, 2018
It wouldn't have made much sense for Chicago to fire a manager that led them to a World Series championship in 2016, ending a 108-year drought. Maddon and the Cubs have won 90-plus games in four straight years now, and reached the NLCS in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The Cubs lost a NL Central tiebreaker game to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, which forced them to play the Rockies in the NL Wild Card game. Chicago lost a nail-biter 2-1 in 13 innings, and their excellent showing in 2018 went down the drain after a pair of gut-wrenching losses.
But in big markets like Chicago, it's championship or bust when it comes to the postseason. The Cubs were defeated in five games by the Los Angeles Dodgers in last year's NLCS, then they had this late-season unraveling to miss out on the Division Series.
Maddon left the Tampa Bay Rays to join the Cubs in 2015, and they've won no fewer than 92 games in his first four years at the helm. One of the game's top leaders and in-game strategists, Maddon has more than deserved the chance to manage the Cubs for a fifth season.
The Cubs lost Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta in free agency and replaced him with Yu Darvish, who made just eight starts and missed most of the season due to an elbow injury. Despite losing their top ace, Maddon and the Cubs were oh-so-close to a third consecutive NL Central title.
Maddon is safe for at least another year, but the Cubs may decide to change things up if they don't go far into the postseason in 2019.