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Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is 65. He would like to keep managing until he's 70.

But the baseball industry is favoring younger managers with lower profiles these days. Maddon is in the final year of his five-year contract and he makes $6 million per season.

He expressed confidence that he will get another deal from the Cubs, who are battling for another National League Central title despite a litany of pitching injuries this season.

"I'm operating like we'll be together for a couple more years, at least," Maddon told reporters before Sunday's game against the Reds in Cincinnati. "I'm not going to sit and proclaim I'm looking to go elsewhere. That's not true."

Does it come down to what happens the rest of this season?

"I really don't think it does, at all," Maddon said. "It has nothing to do with wins and losses. If that's the case, I would have signed a contract at the end of last season. Our success is pretty good. You can't just reduce it to wins and losses. That makes no sense at all."

Maddon has guided the Cubs to the playoffs every year and he led them to their long-awaited World Series championship. But his future seems to come down to whether he, general manager Jed Hoyer and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein can agree on the script for how to go forward.

"It's about interactions," Maddon said. "It's about communication. It's about the ability to work together. That's what it comes down to."

He believes the baseball operation is working in harmony these days. He says communication has been good.

"This year I've taken it to a different level," Maddon said. "I want to be somewhere where I want to work, too. Everything about what we do with the Cubs, you can't beat it. It's impossible to beat. That's the allure for me."

TALKIN' BASEBALL

Here's what folks are writing about Our National Pastime:

Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com: "This (NL Central) division has been difficult to decipher all year, but the Cubs have steadily been winning games of late despite steadily losing key pieces (Willson Contreras, Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Kintzler and Steve Cishek), and now FanGraphs is giving them a 74.9% chance of nailing down their spot at the top. But they also have one of the worst road records in baseball and end the season with a six-game road trip. Hmm … With the Brewers trying to make the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since the early 1980s, the Cardinals trying to avoid four straight empty Octobers and the Cubs playing out what could be the final year of the Joe Maddon era, there’s a lot at stake. The Cubs and Cardinals face each other seven times in the final week and a half of the season, which could be interesting."

David Schoenfield, ESPN.com: "Things are getting serious, my friends. Citi Field was rocking and shaking; the Milwaukee Brewers drew more than 121,000 fans for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers; Yordan Alvarez is still mashing; Aristes Aquino is making us learn his name; and Hjun-Jin Ryu keeps rolling along. Nowhere was the baseball more intense this weekend, however, than at Target Field, where the Cleveland Indians went into Minneapolis and took three of four from the Minnesota Twins, turning a two-game deficit into a dead heat atop the American League Central with 44 games remaining. Both teams are 71-47, on pace for 97 victories. It might take more than that to win the division. Sunday's contest was the best of the series, a 7-3 win for Cleveland in 10 innings, as Carlos Santana belted a go-ahead grand slam off tough lefty Taylor Rogers. But if the Indians win this division by a game, everyone will remember Francisco Lindor's game-saving relay throw in the bottom of the ninth."

Gabe Lacques, USA Today: "Four rollicking games produced a deadlock atop the American League Central. And it's likely the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins are only getting started.  The Indians survived a ninth-inning collapse Sunday to beat the Twins in extra innings and claim three of the four games this weekend at Target Field, a result that pulled them even with Minnesota. The Twins' 11 1/2-game lead on June 2? All gone.  The Indians' five losses in their first eight head-to-head matchups with Minnesota? A distant memory . . . Now, the teams retreat to neutral corners for nearly a month, before six meetings between Sept. 6-15 close out the season series. Meanwhile, the Indians face an immediate challenge: 10 games against the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets. Minnesota faces a six-game trip to Milwaukee and Texas, followed by a virtual mulligan: 13 in a row against the White Sox and Tigers." 

Dayn Perry, CBSSports.com: "Managers who may not be employed beyond 2019 include Gabe Kapler of the Phillies, Mickey Callaway of the Mets and Davey Martinez of the Nationals. How the playoff races shake out will of course have great bearing on their status moving forward. As for the rebuilders, might Rick Renteria of the White Sox Ron Gardenhire of the Tigers, Scott Servais of the Mariners and Andy Green of the Padres be frittering away job security? Perhaps they could use strong finishes."

Matt Ehalt, Yahoo! Sports: "While so much of the trade deadline chatter focused on the Yankees’ lack of activity and whiffing on acquiring a starting pitcher, a strong argument can be made that the Yankees’ bigger misses came in the offseason. The Yankees prioritized adding starting pitching, and (Patrick) Corbin represented the top free agent arm. He finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting with Arizona, struck out 246 batters in 200 innings, and posted a 2.47 VIP. You sign Corbin and immediately slot him into the top of your rotation. Corbin’s 3.41 ERA is currently lower than any Yankees starter. Corbin ultimately visited the Yankees as part of his East coast swing that also featured stops in D.C. and Philadelphia. As the Yankees refrained from going beyond five years, Corbin and his wife, Jen, realized that making their new home in Washington D.C. made the most sense for their future. The couple had always loved visiting the nation’s capital."

Emma Baccallieri, SI.com: "The 2019 Red Sox will not be the worst team ever to follow a 100-win club. There are many things for fans to worry about, but this isn’t one of them. But they’re currently on track to be the 10th worst, which… is not great! (And the worst? The 1918 White Sox, who went 57-67 after losing many of their best players from the previous year to World War I. In 1919, of course, they had the Black Sox Scandal. So, really, add some perspective, and the 2019 Red Sox don’t look too bad as a follow-up to 100 Ws.)" 

MEGAPHONE

“Everybody has a shelf life, whether it’s the general manager, the manager or coach. We understand in professional sports, when a team loses more than the media thinks (it) should or the fans think (it) should, they think the solution is to blame somebody or fire somebody. And (owner) Bob Nutting and (president) Frank Coonelly may get to the point in time where that is the case. These positions, whether it’s the general manager or manager, they are hired to be fired.”

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on his Pittsburgh radio show, admitting that he could get canned.

Keep up with the latest Cardinals coverage from our award-winning team of reporters and columnists.




Jeff Gordon is an online sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.