Joe Maddon might be on the verge of becoming the next manager of the Chicago Cubs, but he was briefly on the Twins’ radar.
The Twins, indeed, reached out to the Maddon camp after he became a free agent Friday, according to two sources with knowledge of the Twins’ search. It’s not clear how serious the Twins’ interest was, but the sides did talk.
Maddon’s availability became a hot topic as soon as he opted out of his contract with the Rays. The Twins did not contact him right away, which drew the ire of fans who felt that a call had to be made to someone of his stature. A Maddon marriage with the Cubs was speculated about as soon as he hit the market, even though the Cubs have not fired manager Rick Renteria.
Maddon became available because he had a two-week window to opt out of his contact, which ran through 2015. The clause was triggered by the departure of executive VP Andrew Friedman to the Dodgers. Tampa Bay tried to sign the two-time AL Manager of the Year to an extension, but talks fell through and Maddon opted out Friday.
With the World Series now over, teams can announce major hirings without receiving permission from the league. The Twins are expected to name their pick to succeed Ron Gardenhire soon, most likely early next week.
Twins coach Paul Molitor, Class A Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz and Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo are considered the main candidates, with the choice likely coming down to Molitor or Lovullo. Each candidate has had multiple interviews with the club.
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan declined to confirm his interest in Maddon as he continued his due diligence in finding his next manager.
“I’m aware that Joe Maddon is out there, I’ll leave it at that,” Ryan said.
Ryan is continuing his search from Arizona this week, where he is scouting players at the annual fall league. While checking on prospects, he’s also speaking with several baseball officials, getting their input about his candidates.
“You can get some ideas, recommendations and suggestions,” Ryan said. “One of the reasons I wanted to come out here is because I’m around a lot of baseball people.”