It’s been less than a day since the Chicago Cubs officially announced that they wouldn’t retain Joe Maddon for the 2020 season, but it already looks like there’s a clear favorite to land his managerial services.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Angels officially announced that they had fired manager Brad Ausmus after just one season.
“I want to thank Brad for his hard work and dedication to this organization over the last two seasons as both a special assistant and field manager,” GM Billy Eppler said. “He navigated this franchise through one of its most difficult seasons with class and professionalism.”
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the move clears the way for Maddon to return to the Angels.
“While it’s not a fait accompli, a number of sources believe Maddon to the Angels is likely to happen,” Passan said.
Maddon served as a coach in the Angels’ organization for decades, ultimately serving as the team’s bench coach when they won the World Series in 2002. After the 2005 season, Maddon left the Angels to become the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Cubs announced Sunday that they would not offer Maddon a new contract, allowing him to become a highly-sought-after free agent on the managerial market.
Maddon won a World Series in 2016 with the Cubs, guiding them to the postseason in his first four seasons at the helm. The team missed the playoffs this year, the first absence from the postseason since 2014.
Several other teams are going to have openings this offseason, including the Padres, Giants, and Royals, and other teams, including the Phillies and Mets, could potentially jettison their managers as well, giving Maddon a wide variety of choices for his next career step.