ST. LOUIS -- The moment is finally arriving. Since November, it has been known that the Cubs would not broach the subject of a potential contract extension with manager Joe Maddon until the conclusion of this season.
Maddon is planning on talking things over with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein on Saturday night. There could be some cocktails involved for the men who helped guide the Cubs to a World Series triumph and four postseason berths in five years together.
"Probably, yeah. Not that I need any more of those, man," Maddon said with a laugh prior to Saturday's game against the Cardinals. "[It'll be] just to discuss everything right now, moving forward, that kind of stuff. We haven't had any kind of a talk yet about any of this. I mean that sincerely. So, we will tonight."
Epstein declined to comment on the situation, but confirmed that he will be meeting Maddon on Saturday night as the manager indicated. One way or the other, Maddon said he hopes to have a resolution to his unsettled contract situation by the time he leaves St. Louis on Sunday.
Maddon has remained especially upbeat on the Cubs' current road trip, even in the face of a recent nine-game losing streak that sent his club tumbling out of postseason contention. The dramatic late-season slide has only escalated the speculation surrounding Maddon's future.
Under the circumstances, Maddon said he has been hearing from a lot of family and friends over the past couple of weeks.
"A lot of texting going on. Some phone calls going on. Everybody's checking in," said Maddon, who quipped that the only person who has yet to reach out is his mom. "Beanie hasn't called, yet, though, so I'm kind of disappointed.
"But, no, everybody's checking in. Obviously, they read a lot of different things, so I get back to them as quickly as I can. It's all good stuff."
Entering Saturday's game, Maddon had guided the Cubs to 470 wins, the fifth-most for a manager in team history. His run of four consecutive postseason berths (2015-18) is unprecedented for a Cubs manager, the 2016 World Series win snapped a 108-year championship drought and his winning percentage (.582) is the second-highest mark among all Cubs managers with more than two years at the helm.
Even with all of those accomplishments on Maddon's resume with the Cubs, the franchise is weighing whether a new voice is needed for the next era for the team. Maddon's contract expires at the end of the season, so he also has the ability to elect to become a "free agent" ahead of the 2020 campaign.
"We all have a huge amount of respect for Joe and what he's done here," Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber said. "Whatever happens, happens. If he comes back, that's great. If he decides to move on, we wish him the best. But he's done a lot of dang good here, and you can't take that away.
"For me, for him being my first big league manager, I think that's a pretty good Major League manager to have as your first one. I have a huge amount of respect for him."