Joe Maddon's not getting caught up in contract drama: ‘The future has not been decided yet'

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ST. LOUIS - Joe Maddon either has a good poker face or he really hasn't been told yet if he will return as Cubs manager beyond Sunday.

Theo Epstein declined to comment on Maddon's contract situation and there's no indication yet when that decision will be handed down, beyond the fact that the two men have plans to talk sometime in the next couple of days and Maddon expects to know for certain by Monday.

He's already working out his plan for the offseason - heading back to his hometown of Hazleton, Penn., with his wife to see family and friends and go golfing - and admits he's not going to spend much time in Chicago after the season ends Sunday.

"When you don't win, man, just go," Maddon said. "Just go, brother."

The Cubs were eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday night in Pittsburgh and since then, Maddon has been trying to finish out the season with "glorified spring training games" that don't mean anything to the Cubs (though the final three in St. Louis here mean a ton for the Cardinals and Brewers).

Maddon acknowledged it's hard to go through the day knowing these games don't have any playoff implications, but he also proved he's still going to be the same dude - even if this is the end.

"Honestly, I'm having a pretty good time, still. And I will," Maddon said Friday evening to a group of several dozen media members at Busch Stadium. "The future has not been decided yet. But quite frankly, I'm feeling pretty good."

He's also doing a good job of keeping it all in perspective, insisting that the anxiety of not knowing his future is not getting him down.

"I hate to disappoint everybody but I promise you, no, I don't," he said. "When you get to do what I'm doing every day and you get to do it here, under the circumstances of what we've done over the last couple years, it's hard to get upset or get down. Why would you do that?

"I talked to a really good friend today whose wife has cancer. Recently, my uncle passed away. I got my grandkids out in Arizona. I mean, why would you permit a game to drag you down like that? I feel really good about the future, really strongly about the future. Whether it's on or off the baseball field.”

Before 2019 began, Epstein and the Cubs front office tasked Maddon with taking a more hands-on approach and getting more involved in the coaching aspect of things. That was especially crucial given the lack of experience across most of the coaching staff.

Some of that also included trying to find a way to connect more with the millennial players in the clubhouse, prompting Maddon to read "Managing Millennials For Dummies" over the winter.

"I was asked to do some things differently this year and I did," he said. "But I actually kind of enjoyed it. I think I've grown this year as a coach and regarding the millennialism that we confronted at the beginning of the year, I really feel good about the interaction there, too. I feel like I've grown and learned a lot this year, so I'm pleased with that."

Maddon said earlier this week he doesn't think his contract status has had an effect on the players or clubhouse at all this season but now that the Cubs are out of playoff contention, the focus has turned to his future.

So much so that players are answering questions about him on a daily basis and are even coming into his office to talk to him about the situation and the future.

"It's kinda interesting when guys come to you - they read, they see," Maddon said. "So I've had some really interesting and insightful, in-depth conversations and it's been awesome."

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