Mike Maddux is my first choice (Ryno aside) as the Cubs next manager, and that has nothing to do with being Mad Dog’s brother!
More so, it’s the idea that he’s an innovative thinker, a successful pitching coach and has the recent experience of back-to-back World Series appearances with the Rangers.
Few things, if any, are more important for a manager than managing his bullpen. Maddux did this well in Milwaukee and then for Ron Washington in Texas, using a level-headed approach and uncanny ability to relate to his pitchers.
There’s no reason to believe he couldn’t do the same sitting in the manager’s seat.
Although the Cubs rotation and bullpen is a bit thin, there’s enough talent to compete within the Central in addition to the opportunity to unlock some serious potential with Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and Chris Carpenter, among others.
Assuming Maddux isn’t a miracle worker, the Cubs poor play defensively will remain its biggest weakness and greatly limit the Cubs’ success as it did last season.
But once Theo and company finish plugging the fielding holes, Maddux’s coaching touch should put his players, and pitchers in particular, in a position to compete for the division title, and perhaps, a deep run in October.
Now all Maddux needs is the chance.