Cubs' Epstein: Maddon 'Rejuvenated' For 2019

"We recognize what a pivotal year it is," Theo Epstein says.

Bruce Levine
November 08, 2018 - 9:55 am
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, left, and manager Joe Maddon

Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

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CARLSBAD, Calif. (670 The Score) -- While choosing not to hold contract extension talks with manager Joe Maddon this offseason, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein believes Maddon has a renewed vigor about him as the organization looks to embrace the change that needs to be made after a disappointing 2018 season that ended with a loss in the National League wild-card game.

"To me, the story really is I am excited about Joe being all in on 2019," Epstein said. "He is going to be right in the middle of everything that is going on with the team. He will be deepening his relationship and communication with players and continuing to be committed to getting the most out of these guys. We recognize what a pivotal year it is for our players and their development as a whole.

"He is renewed, rejuvenated and ready to attack the season. We are all there to support him and do the same and get the most out of his players. So I am really excited about that. When I say we are not going to give him an extension this season, it's not punitive at all. It is not foreshadowing of changing managers either. It is just a decision we have made to get the most out of 2019 and evaluating from there."

While a manager of a championship-contending team having a lame-duck status isn't the norm, Epstein reminded that his own contract was in its final weeks in 2016 before he received an extension from owner Tom Ricketts.

"I had no problem waiting to the end of my fifth year before getting an extension," Epstein said. "I know its a little different between front office and manager jobs. I understand that. Joe and (agent Alan Nero) said, 'A contract is a contract, we get it.' He said, 'Let's go, we can't wait for the season.' That is how I feel. I felt I needed it to get out. It could be a big story in November. There are no distractions about winning or anything else. Our job is to make sure when spring training rolls around that we are all just committed to the season and playing well."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.