According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the MLB is investigating tampering charges against the Chicago Cubs. The tampering allegations was brought to the MLB by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are saying the Cubs talked to new manager Joe Maddon before he opted out of his contract on October 24th.
Joe Maddon opted out of his contract on a Friday and the Cubs reached out to his agent, Alan Nero, soon after that. Nero says the tampering allegations are false and beyond ridiculous.
Theo Epstein on the tampering allegations; “There was no tampering whatsoever. Joe had an out in his contract. We didn’t engage him in any way until that out was exercised.” “I understand they are disappointed. But I don’t appreciate the accusation. I understand where they are coming from, but we welcome an investigation if they feel, if MLB feels there has to be one because we have nothing to hide and that will allow everyone to put this behind them and move on.”
More about what Theo Epstein said of the tampering allegations at Maddon’s press conference; “It’s just wholly inaccurate. There’s nothing to it. If we keep seeing stuff in print, then we’re going to respond at some point. For now, we’ll just take it day-by-day. But there was absolutely no tampering whatsoever. The first thing I did when I got the e-mail, I reached out to Dan Halem – (Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations) – to confirm that it was a real clause and that he had really exercised it and he had opted out. But I will say that the opt-out clause – it’s right in the contract summary that all teams can get of all managers’ contracts, sitting right there.”
Before Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays, both parties were talking about a contract extension. Maddon was looking for at least 4 million a year and the Rays best offer was 3 years at 9 million. The Cubs signed Maddon to a 5-year contract worth 25 million.
If the Cubs were to be found guilty in the tampering charges, they may have to surrender a draft pick(s), a player or money. If anyone in the front office was found to have lie to investigators, they could be suspended.
What does this mean for Dave Martinez, the Rays bench coach and candidate to take over as manager for the Rays? Martinez is a Nero client. Nero and the Rays are not on good terms. Meaning Martinez could leave at first chance given. Could Martinez join the Cubs as Maddon’s bench coach? If Martinez does not become the new Rays manager, that is a possibility that could just happened. Current Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde could return to the front office. Joe Maddon and the Cubs have yet to mention the coaching staff. The announcement should be coming soon.
From the looks of it, the Rays tampering allegations is far-fetched and the Cubs will likely not be at fault. Like Sherman notes, the tampering allegations will be hard to prove.