The Chicago Cubs fired manager Rick Renteria on Friday, and later set up a press conference for Monday to announce the hiring of former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Maddon had opted out of the final year of the contract with Tampa Bay - which he had every right to do - but the Rays are curious how this situation happened so quickly. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the Rays are considering filing tampering charges against the Cubs.
The Rays remain convinced that the Cubs enticed Maddon to opt out of the final year of his contract last week rather than reaching out afterward. As a result, they are still considering filing tampering charges or a complaint to get Major League Baseball to investigate the matter, with any potential compensation (A fine? A player?) determined by the commissioner’s office.
Cubs president Theo Epstein explained the situation in a statement yesterday, saying they simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring in a manager like Joe Maddon, who many consider to be one of the best in the league.
Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon – who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us – had become a free agent. We confirmed the news with Major League Baseball, and it became public knowledge the next day. We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe.
It's not hard to see why the Rays are suspicious, but it's also not hard to buy the Cubs explanation behind their actions.
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