Maddon A Willing Sounding Board For Cubs Players

(670 The Score) While he has moved on to manage the Angels, Joe Maddon is still happy to help any of his former Cubs players who may encounter tough times moving forward.

And to Maddon, that means doling out support and advice here and there from afar.

"Listen, I have a strong, strong tie to these guys," Maddon said on the Laurence Holmes Show on 670 The Score on Monday afternoon. "I've still been texting with a lot of them over the winter time, and I'll continue to do that. When somebody is scuffling, I'm going to check in with them, absolutely. If there's something that I can do to help them from a distance, I will, based on our experiences together. So yeah, when you spend five years together and you grow like we did and you win a World Series like we did and you almost win two others like we did, you tend to get really close."

The Cubs let Maddon walk after their underachieving 84-78 season concluded in September. That ended his five-year tenure in Chicago, a run that featured four playoff appearances, three National League Championship appearances, two NL Central titles and a World Series championship.

It didn't take Maddon long to land his new job, as the Angels hired him by mid-October. As he moves on, Maddon will always still remember what he left behind.

"I was as tight with the Cubs group as I was any group," Maddon said. "There was something different about it. I think I was together with them long enough, a lot of visceral stuff occurred in turning around the franchise in the last decade with the Cubs, three consecutive NLCSs and then a World Series win, 95 wins. I mean listen, you just play back the tape on the five years, there's nothing for anybody to be sorry about or to be apologetic about. It was great. So me as a manager -- conversationally and emotionally -- with the players, there was a really strong connection. And it's unique. Believe me, it's unique. It doesn't happen every day. People that aren't around don't really understand that, and that's OK. But it was and it is and it's going to remain that way."

If you missed @LaurenceWHolmes’ interview with Joe Maddon, you can check it out below in full and on the @Radiodotcom app:

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Maddon was particularly close to Cubs star shortstop Javier Baez, whom Maddon gave the freedom to be himself on the diamond despite plenty of growing pains early in Baez's career. On Monday, Maddon continued to have high praise for Baez, comparing him -- in part -- to Angels star outfielder Mike Trout, a three-time MVP winner who Maddon believes has the potential to "turn out to be the best player that ever lived."

"Javy maybe has not had the same offensive success that Mike has had, but as a baseball player, Javy and Mike are pretty equal in regards to their charisma on the field, their abilities on the field, their athleticism on the field," Maddon said. "I just got to Javy, so I think that's a great comparison right there."