In a press conference held at a bar across the street from Wrigley Field, the Cubs introduced their new manager,
Will Ferrell as Harry Caray Joe Maddon. It ended with Maddon ordering a round of boilermakers for everyone.
A couple pieces of news—or at least posturing—have emerged over the last couple of days regarding Maddon's surprise opting-out of his Rays deal. The first was in response to a report that the Rays are considering filing tampering charges against the Cubs for contacting Maddon while he was still under contract. Maddon's agent, Alan Nero, went on the radio yesterday and called that hooey.
"This accusation of tampering is really sad and a bit insulting," said Nero, who claimed that the first time he heard from Theo Epstein was after Maddon had opted out, and the Cubs exec was reaching out to see if the news was true.
Earlier today, in a CBS Sports report that's sourced to "people familiar with the talks" but is probably also Nero, Jon Heyman says that Maddon offered to stay with the Rays for below market value.
In a real effort to try to stay in Tampa Bay, Joe Maddon is said to have made an offer to the Rays to remain their manager before ultimately agreeing to be the Cubs manager for more money in the managerial mega-deal that's rocking Chicago.
Maddon, following what one person described as talks that turned "contentious" after his decision to opt out of his under-market Rays deal, tried to keep things together by making the Rays his own firm proposal. Maddon, ultimately known as a "get-along guy," was looking to extend an olive branch after nine fruitful years in Tampa Bay with his offer, which was turned down by the Rays, according to people familiar with the talks.
However it happened, the Cubs pounced on one of baseball's few rock-star managers, even if it meant having to toss out Rick Renteria like so many Ron Santo mementos or decorative cakes.
The eminently quotable Maddon is reportedly getting $5 million a year for five years, which is good manager money—it's almost Mike Scioscia money—but I still think it was the Cubs picking up the tab on Maddon's offer of a shot and a beer for the room.