Maddux a Match by the Midway

The new Theo-led Cubs need to change a lot about their club. The first place the new front office wants to make their mark is hiring a smart, like-minded manager to shepherd their new OBP-fed flock.

Judging by the sounds coming out of Chicago, Mike Maddux might be just the man for the job.

Maddux interviewed and met with the media yesterday in Chicago. The obvious connection between Maddux and Chicago is his famous brother Greg, Hall of Fame shoe-in and current Cubs front office “special advisor” figurehead. Beyond the familiarity, Maddux really seems a good fit for a franchise about to undergo a major sea change.

Maddux fills one of Epstein’s major requirements for his future bench boss – big league coaching experience. Maddux is lauded for his incredible work with the Rangers pitching staff, coaxing an incredibly high number of starts out of his core pitchers and overseeing the conversion from reliever to starter in both C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogando.

Should Maddux get the Cubs top job, his experience as a pitching coach signifies a major shift in policy from previous North Side regimes. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune explains:

The idea of hiring a former pitcher as manager was something the preceding Cubs’ front office had not contemplated because longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild basically ran the pitching staff under three managers. Quade’s pitchers struggled after Rothschild left last year for the Yankees.

Maddux pointed to the managerial successes of former pitchers Tommy Lasorda, Larry Dierker, Bud Black and John Ferrell, arguing “good baseball people are baseball people, and we come from different tools of the trade.”

A pitching coach with a strong pedigree of keeping pitchers healthy sounds like a breath of fresh air, aimirite Cubs fans?

Considering the reputation of former managers like Baker and the relative dearth of pitchers developed in-house, a coach with a clear and consistent plan for pitchers is in lock-step with a preference of the new Cubs boss, says Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cubs president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and others in the game consider pitching injuries the next Moneyball frontier to conquer, the market inefficiency that will create a competitive advantage for any team that systematically reduces an injury rate that has gone largely unchanged for decades.

As long as the money is right, I can’t see how this relationship doesn’t move forward. Maddux is well-respected and sees like an ideal fit for the re-building Cubs. He has the opportunity to learn on the job while the New England geniuses work their magic. Magic is what