Joe Maddon was named Manager of the Year for the third time by the BBWAA after leading the Cubs through the maze of a 162-game schedule and four wins over the Pirates and Cardinals in the post-season to the National League Championship Series. Under Maddon and with an improved roster, the Cubs won 24 more games than the year before and finished with the third best record in baseball (97-65) and in the NL Central.
Spring Training officially begins for the Cubs on Saturday when pitchers and catchers have their first on-field work out of the year. At that time Maddon will start deflecting the attention from the players so they can just focus on playing the game.
The Boston Globe released its annual ranking of Major League managers. Nick Cafardo and the Globe staff “combine opinions of players, managers, general managers, coaches, scouts and other front office personnel” along with “opinions based on track record as well as last year’s success or failure” to form the list.
Joe Maddon topped the Globe’s annual managerial ranking. Bruce Bochy (Giants), Buck Showalter (Orioles), Terry Francona (Indians), Joe Girardi (Yankees), Clint Hurdle (Pirates), Terry Collins (Mets), Ned Yost (Royals), Mike Matheny (Cardinals) and John Gibbons (Blue Jays) comprised the top 10 with Maddon at No. 1.
“It’s now two franchises, the Rays and Cubs, that Maddon has managed wonderfully. One of the first, and without question the best, to bring managing into the analytics age, he has revolutionized managing, much as Tony La Russa did decades earlier.”
The Cubs get back to work this week. Joe Maddon will talk about embracing the target, pressure and expectations, focusing on the day and that game and ultimately winning eight more games than last year.