Kris Bryant: Onus on players to ensure Joe Maddon’s job security
There has been speculation going back to last season concerning Joe Maddon’s seemingly tenuous hold on his job as manager of the Chicago Cubs. With the longtime skipper serving in a lame-duck capacity in the final year of his contract, it’s believed a deep postseason run this fall is necessary to secure his return in 2020.
While contemplating where the Cubs’ season stands at the unofficial midpoint of the season, Kris Bryant made the observation that it’s on the players to make sure Maddon remains in Chicago for the long haul.
“We have to play better to show that he deserves to be here. A lot of that falls on us,” Bryant said, via the Chicago Tribune. “We just haven’t performed the way we should. I can think of a handful of ballgames that we should’ve won, and that whole narrative would be much different. But it hasn’t been that way, and we hope to change it certainly so he’s not getting that blame.”
Bryant also noted that Maddon has been “way more involved” this season, and that the manager is “positive every day.” Bryant was asked what more Maddon could do to get the Cubs rolling.
“I honestly don’t think there’s anything else he can do,” Bryant said.
The Cubs, despite sitting in first place in the NL Central with a 47-43 record, have been forced to navigate a middling and frustrating season that leaves them with only a 0.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Maddon, one of the most eccentric and philosophical managers ever employed by an MLB team, spent the offseason poring over some novel reading material that exemplified his commitment to adapting himself to a new era in baseball. Unfortunately, the results have not quite been there.
Cubs president Theo Epstein has made his displeasure over the season’s underwhelming first half quite clear. Ultimately, the blame, whether fair or not, will always fall on the manager, so the onus is on Maddon to get the Cubs playing to their potential. If not, there’s a good chance he won’t be back next season.