Joe Maddon Tampering Investigation Reveals No Violation by Cubs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2015

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The Chicago Cubs are officially in the clear after Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that an investigation found no evidence of tampering in the hiring of manager Joe Maddon this past offseason.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com passed along the good news for the Cubs, while MLB Communications shared a statement from the league:

MLB Communications @MLB_PR

MLB has concluded the Joe Maddon tampering investigation: http://t.co/9SOVUkcPYY

Comcast SportsNet Chicago's Patrick Mooney reported Cubs executives gave their phones and laptops to investigators as part of the investigation. Mooney also provided comments from Cubs GM Jed Hoyer:

Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney

#Cubs GM Hoyer on Maddon case: "There was never any concern of any wrongdoing, so we did encourage a thorough process."

Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney

#Cubs GM Hoyer on Maddon tampering: "We're glad the result we expected came through. Now we can put it behind us and never talk about it."

The Cubs hired Maddon about a week after he resigned from the Tampa Bay Rays' managing job. Maddon had an opt-out clause in his contract if executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman departed, and Maddon left Tampa Bay after Friedman exited.   

Joel Sherman of the New York Post noted that the Rays believed Maddon “only opted out of his contract because he was made aware of what the Cubs were willing to offer him should he jump. If that indeed occurred, it would be an infraction of major league rules that forbid teams to talk to personnel under contract with another club.”

If there had been tampering, Chicago may have been forced to provide compensation through draft picks, money or even players.

Carrie Muskat of MLB.com shared Chicago president of baseball operations Theo Epstein’s comments before Wednesday’s ruling: “We welcome the MLB investigation. As we said last week, there was no tampering whatsoever. I’d rather they investigate, so we can clear our names and move on from this quickly. We’re giving our full cooperation.” 

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Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein
Joe Maddon and Theo EpsteinJeff Haynes/Associated Press

It is no surprise why the Cubs welcomed the investigation given the result. ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers suggested as much:

Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs

Cubs were adamant they didn't tamper and league backed that up.

With the investigation now in the rearview mirror, it is time for the Cubs to move on to actual baseball, as Jon Greenberg of ESPN.com noted:

jon greenberg @jon_greenberg

While Cubs aren't guilty of tampering, Theo has been found guilty of tempering... expectations. Because Cubs are going to win WS in 2015.

There is reason for optimism in the North Side of Chicago with Maddon at the helm. The Cubs are off to a hot start and right behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central race. They also have a young core in place with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler that should keep them competitive for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday’s news is just one less thing to worry about as the Cubs attempt to bring a long-overdue championship to Wrigley Field.

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