Maddon: Pregame Routine Not Why Cubs Struggled

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- Joe Maddon has moved on to manage the Angels, but he continues to land in a handful of Cubs storylines lately. 

On Tuesday, that came in the form of a large group of reporters inquiring about Cubs shortstop Javier Baez's recent comments that he and some teammates weren't always physically ready to play at first pitch in a disappointing 2019 season. That led to more retroactive questions about Maddon's methods, as he had a lax approach when it came to implementing pregame routines, leaving it largely up to the players.

"I never recognized that from him," Maddon said of Baez's contention that he wasn't ready. "He is one of the best players in baseball. I think 30 teams would love to have him. Whatever that was going on with him, I am sure he will fix it. I never recognized that."

Maddon expanded his thoughts when informed that Baez said some other Cubs weren't ready as well.

"I would take a poll on that and see how many of them would say they were not ready," said Maddon, who managed the Cubs from 2015-'19. "I did not recognize that, and if you see our home and road records, our difficult time was on the road at night. That was a really awkward breakdown of the season. We were way over .500 at home. Did we have a different method at home than we did on the road?"

Maddon acknowledged he didn't see eye to eye with the Cubs front office on pregame work. He believed -- especially ahead of day games -- that a laidback, relaxed environment was best for his players so as to minimize a few of the rigors of a 162-game season. Cubs management preferred that the players take more batting practice than they did and conduct on-field work more often, believing that would help them be sharper for games.

"My methods, I have been doing for a long while," Maddon said. "I was pretty pleased with the run we had. Of course, you are always trying to find a better way of doing things. You always try to learn from the past. I loved my five years in Chicago. I know that the guys (the front office) wanted us to be on the field more. With all the day games, I just could not agree with that. You look at the first four years and the number of wins, it was pretty productive. I just can't agree with that (vision that) you have to be on the field to be more productive over 162 games. We lost Javy and (Anthony) Rizzo as well (late in the season). It had nothing to do with work on the field."

The primary reason Maddon's approach has continued to be a storyline nearly five months after his departure from Chicago is because new manager David Ross and the Cubs have been so vocal about their belief that implementing more structure and creating more team unity pregame can help them succeed in 2020.

As far as increasing on-field work goes, Maddon just doesn't buy the theory that would've been the answer as the Cubs struggled through an 84-win season in 2019.

"I don't think that performance was affected," Maddon said. "When you are a major league player, you have to do your work. They did do their work. I just liked them being fresh and ready to go at kickoff and not spend all their bullets in the pregame."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.