Two clubs made new managerial hires public on Monday, and the men who were hired have resumes as different as can be imagined.
Joe Maddon, the former manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, is the new manager of the Chicago Cubs, and Paul Molitor, the Hall of Famer who played every infield and outfield position during the course of his 21-year-career, was chosen as the new manager of the Minnesota Twins.
Maddon, 60, never advanced higher than Class A ball, but later served 31 years in the Angels organization in various roles, including minor league manager for six seasons, never having a winning record, but later moving up to the big-league club in 1993, where he served as a coach. He was the interim manager for the team in 1996 and managed them for 29 games in 1999, going 19-10. He was hired as the manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in November, 2005. From 2006-2014 he managed the Rays, compiling a 754-705 record, winning the division in 2008, when the Rays eventually lost the World Series to Philadelphia in five games, and 2010. In all the previous hapless Rays made four playoff appearances under Maddon.
Maddon replaces Rick Renteria for the Cubs. His five-year contract runs through the the 2019 season. ESPN and several other media outlets have reported that the contract is worth $25 million plus incentives if the Cubs make the playoffs. The reports stipulate there is no opt-out clause. The Cubs did not fire Renteria until Friday because president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were waiting to see if Maddon would leave the Rays, which he did after Tampa Bay general manager Andrew Friedman left for the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 14.
The Cubs are loaded with young talent; both first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro are All-Stars, and Javier Baez, as well as Jorge Boler and prospects Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, have been heralded as coming stars.
Molitor, unlike Maddon, had a spectacular major league career for the Brewers, Blue Jays, and Twins, batting .306 lifetime with 3,319 hits, tenth on the all-time list. Unlike Maddon, he boasts no experience as a big-league manager. A Minnesota native, the 58-year-old replaces Ron Gardenhire, who was fired five weeks ago after managing the Twins from 2002-2014, during which time he led the small-market team to six division titles.
Molitor had served as a coach for the Twins in 2014, and was initially considered for the Twins job in 2001 after Tom Kelly retired, having been a bench coach for two years, but took his name out of the running because of rumors the team might be moved. Before he joined the staff last year, he had served 10 years as a minor league instructor for the team. He was generally thought to be the top candidate to replace Gardenhire.
Only three players have made the Hall of Fame and then managed: Ted Williams, Ryne Sandberg, and Molitor.
The Twins have tremendous pitching problems, ranking 29th, 28th, 29th, and 29th in the bigs in team ERA over the past four years. But second baseman Brian Dozier surely will be excited by the hiring of Molitor; he said in October that Molitor is “probably the most knowledgeable guy about the game of baseball I’ve ever been around.”