[UPDATE 5:28 pm ET: The Chicago Cubs have hired Joe Maddon as their new manager]
The Chicago Cubs fired manager Rick Renteria on Friday, perhaps paving the way to hire former Tampa Bay Rays skipper Joe Maddon.
Multiple sources have confirmed that the Cubs have shown interest in adding Maddon, who helped guide the Rays to an American League title in 2008, and won the AL Manager of the Year award in 2008 and 2011. Maddon, 60, had been the Rays manager since 2006, before resigning on Oct. 24.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had reported Maddon and the Cubs had reached an agreement on Thursday, but then reported the deal was “on the verge.” With the firing of Renteria, a Maddon deal could be announced imminently.
"Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon -- who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us -- had become a free agent," Cubs President Theo Epstein said in a statement. "We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe."
Maddon, a lifelong Cardinals fan, had also reportedly been pursued by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Former Rays general manager Andrew Friedman was announced as the new Dodgers president on Oct. 14, adding to speculation that the Dodgers would also add Maddon.
In a Washington Post report in 2011, Maddon was depicted as a manager who emphasized the importance of a positive and fun clubhouse to get through the often highs and lows of a 162-game season. He also places emphasis on inspirational quotes, and team-building exercises.
Renteria, who was offered another position by the Cubs, led Chicago to a 73-89 record in his only season as a manager in the Majors. The former infielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins had previously managed the Mexican national team in 2013 at the World Baseball Classic.
An IB Times reporter contributed to this report.