Managers are hired to be fired — isn’t that the saying?
For the first time in his career, Joe Maddon learned that the hard way. The veteran manager “mutually” parted ways with his two previous teams, but after a disastrous skid in the 2022 season, the Los Angeles Angels canned their skipper and Maddon is now without a job.
Maddon has long been touted as one of the best MLB managers, willing to adapt to new strategies and technologies, keeping a baseball clubhouse on the right track with his quirky personality, and leading the Chicago Cubs to a long-awaited World Series victory. But is he actually one of the great managers, and do the numbers bear that out? Or is he overrated?
Is Joe Maddon A Good Manager?
|Team (Years)||Straight Up Record||Win %||SU Betting Profits|
|Tampa Bay Rays (’12-’14)||261-231||53%||-$1275.6|
|Chicago Cubs (’15-’19)||490-357-1||57.9%||-$1721.03|
|Los Angeles Angels (’20-’22)||130-148||46.6%||-$2126.54|
Data courtesy of Odds Shark’s database since the 2012 season, including playoffs
Maddon is currently 32nd all-time in MLB manager wins, which is nothing to scoff at. Though he’ll likely soon be passed by Padres skipper Bob Melvin, Maddon’s longevity shows what people around the game think about him.
But when you sort by all-time win rate, Maddon slides all the way down to 90th, behind 11 active MLB managers. And in postseason win rate, he is 95th with a win percentage of 47.8.
Betting profits can sometimes be a solid indication of how teams perform relative to expectations (if you’re often winning as an underdog, you’re gonna rake in the money). Looking at the profits (or lack of) for Maddon-led teams in the last 10 years, it seems they’re falling a little below the expected marks.
Joe Maddon: Expectation Vs Reality
|Team||Year||Preseason Win Total||Actual Wins|
Another good way to gauge how a team performs relative to expectations is by looking at preseason win totals and how the teams actually perform. Maddon had a good run in the early 2010s with some overperforming Rays teams and the championship-era Cubs.
Lately, though, it seems he hasn’t been able to meet expectations. Maddon’s Cubs and Angels squads have fallen below their preseason win totals in four of the last five seasons. Those teams have played a combined 19.5 games below expected wins over that stretch.
You can find most of these season win totals every year at one of our top baseball sportsbooks, including [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog]:
What Do Players Think?
While Maddon’s all-time wins and 2016 World Series triumph speak for themselves, what ultimately matters is how he’s able to win over and motivate players — the primary role of an MLB manager.
Early on in Maddon’s days with the Cubs, Chicago pitcher Jon Lester told the Chicago Sun-Times that you can quickly tell how genuine Maddon is, and LA star Mike Trout echoed that feeling with the Angels a few years later.
“He’s all about having fun, but having a purpose — being free,” Trout told the LA Times. “And I think all the guys are starting to buy into that.”
But sometimes Maddon’s personality can grow old and frustrations with his managing style have certainly been expressed, too. Former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman specifically indicated he felt he was overworked by Maddon during the 2016 playoffs and legendary hitter Albert Pujols has reportedly “blasted” Maddon’s managerial skills in the past.
It’s easy to be the fun, free manager when you’re winning, and Maddon was often at the helm of teams expected to do so. His teams have been expected to finish over .500 in each of the last 10 years. But when things go south, or he is tasked with turning a mediocre team into a playoff contender (see LA), maybe his tactics aren’t as effective.
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