Joe Maddon is shedding more light on why he and the Cubs decided to split ways.
ESPN's Alden Gonzalez sat down for a cup of joe with the new Angels skipper, who went into much greater detail about his "philosophical differences" with Theo Epstein and the rest of the Cubs front office at the end of his tenure on the North Side.
"Philosophically, Theo needed to do what he needed to do separately. At some point, I began to interfere with his train of thought a little bit. And it's not that I'm hardheaded. I'm inclusive. But when I started there -- '15, '16, '17 -- it was pretty much my methods. And then all of a sudden, after '18 going into '19, they wanted to change everything."
Maddon also believes Epstein and company "wanted to control more of what was occurring in just about everything" following a disappointing 2018 campaign.
"Joe and I aren't exactly the same. His approach was more 'things will work themselves out. These are great players. Let them play,'" noted Epstein as the Cubs opened camp in Mesa. "From my perspective there was a little bit more cause for concern. Again, it's not an everyday thing that I would try to step in and offer feedback or help or remind about expectations. But, when we're falling short, not in results but in how we're going about things - we've talked about this before about the type of work and preparation that should be expected in a big league situation - I don't think I'd be doing my job if I didn't step in.
"I've been open about this with you guys and with the team and with everybody that I've sensed and feared a bit of a growing organizational complacency. Over time it's developed in the aftermath in the championship. I think that's something we had to be open and honest about. Talk about it head on and combat it. Different approaches we could take to make sure we were working and competing at a really high level. I'm always open and honest about that. I give feedback and performance reviews when I can. When certain standards aren't being met, I think it's the job of a leader to be honest about it, even if it can lead to a difficult conversation."
Epstein prefaced all of his comments with some high praise for the man who brought home the Cubs first World Series title in 108 years.
"I love Joe. I value our friendship. I have nothing but respect and appreciation for what he brought to the Cubs. Nobody on the planet could have done what he did the first couple years. Changing the whole mindset. Raising expectations. Getting players to be themselves and be comfortable and thrive. This is my 29th season in Major League Baseball. It's my 18th running a team. I can guarantee you that I've never wanted to get involved in running the clubhouse. I've never wanted to infringe on a manager's authority. I've never told a manager that he had to hire or fire a coach, I guess with one exception due to some off field issues - I had to get involved. I'm a firm believer that it's the manager that has to help define the culture around the major league team. The manger has to be the leader of the clubhouse. The manager has to set expectations and hold players accountable to certain basic organizational standards for preparation, for work and for behavior. Teams run best when that's from the manager and the coaching staff and the players, not the front office. I think in my 18 years, there have only been two instances in 18 years, where I felt like those basic organizational standards for work, preparation, behavior were not getting met. I had to get involved and give feedback and remind about expectations. But, it doesn't work well that way. It works best when it's a manager with a clear voice, coaching staff supporting him and veteran players running the clubhouse. You can ask the guys I've worked with, but I have no interest in usurping a manager's power or authority or place running the team. I can only succeed doing my job if we have a strong manager who's empowered in that clubhouse."