Could Major League Baseball’s investigation of the tampering charges filed by the Rays for the Cubs hiring of Joe Maddon be coming to an end?
Jon Heyman provided an update on the investigation that has been ongoing since November. And the expectation is the case “will be wrapped up fairly soon.” MLB is believed to be nearing the end of its investigation despite “interviewing people involved as recently as last week.”
According to Heyman, it appears that MLB hasn’t found any proof the Cubs tampered with Joe Maddon despite the allegations and charges filed by the Tampa Bay Rays. Heyman explained if MLB had discovered the Cubs broke the rules, the investigation would not have lasted as long as it has.
Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg was not happy when Joe Maddon decided to explore opportunities outside of the Rays’ organization. Maddon exercised a change of control clause in his contract that was negotiated by Maddon’s agent, Alan Nero, and Rays’ President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman. The clause allowed Maddon to become a free agent in the event there was any change with the Rays’ leadership.
Joe Maddon and Alan Nero tried to work out a new contract with Matt Silverman and Stuart Sternberg before Maddon exercised the opt out. Maddon wanted to stay in Tampa and explored ways to continue as the Rays’ manager.
Jon Heyman pointed to Maddon trying to work out a new contract with the Rays as being “one weakness in the case.” Heyman reported Maddon’s offer to the Rays “is said to have been a four-year deal for only slightly more than half of the $25 million, five-year deal he ultimately got with the Cubs.” Heyman finds it hard to believe that if Maddon had any idea the Cubs were willing to pay him $5 million a year that he would try to work out a new contract with the Rays “to stay for barely more than half of that.”
Stuart Sternberg was rather vocal last fall with the fact he was not happy that Maddon decided to leave the organization and take the job with the Cubs. According to Jon Heyman, Sternberg told Maddon when he left “he’d never work for them again.” It is believed Sternberg is the one pushing Major League Baseball to find the Cubs guilty of persuading Maddon to leave the Rays.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have maintained the Cubs did not contact Maddon until the paperwork was filed with Major League Baseball. The Cubs have stated publicly the front office would provide any information to MLB in order to clear up the matter.
According to Jon Heyman, “MLB has gone to the trouble of doing computer forensics on devices belonging to Cubs people and also to Maddon’s agent Alan Nero.”
Marc Topkin talked with Commissioner Rob Manfred about the investigation 10 days ago. Commissioner Manfred said the investigation was still ongoing but he was expecting it to be wrapped up fairly soon.
If Major League Baseball determines Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer did not follow the rules and contacted Maddon before the paperwork was filed with Major League Baseball, the Cubs could have to forfeit a draft pick (or draft picks) as compensation or make a financial settlement with the cash-strapped Rays.
A resolution on this matter has been expected for months. And it’s beyond time for the two organizations to put this situation behind them.
- Full Report from Jon Heyman
- MLB Investigation Remains Ongoing, Decision Could Be Made Fairly Soon [April 14]