MLB notebook: New Cubs manager Maddon already talking about playoffs |

MLB notebook: New Cubs manager Maddon already talking about playoffs

The marquee at Wrigley Field read “Welcome Joe Maddon,” and the Cubs gave their new manager a robust greeting before Monday’s news conference.

Maddon, 60, will receive a five-year contract worth at least $25 million, a source confirmed.

Cubs fans undoubtedly will believe Maddon is worth every penny if he can guide the Cubs to postseason glory, and that was foremost in the new manager’s mind during his remarks at the Cubby Bear bar.

“I’m gonna be talking playoffs next year,” Maddon said. “I’ll tell you that right now. I can’t go to spring training and say anything else. You have to set your goals high, because if you don’t set them high enough you might hit your mark, and that’s not a good thing. We’re gonna talk World Series this year, and I’m gonna believe it. It’s in our future.”

Maddon opted out of his contract after managing the Rays for nine seasons, compiling a 754-705 record with four playoff appearances, two AL East titles and berth in the 2008 World Series.

Molitor is Twins manager

The Twins announced Monday they had agreed to a three-year contract with Paul Molitor, a Hall of Fame infielder and native of Minnesota to be their manager.

Molitor will be introduced Tuesday as Ron Gardenhire’s replacement during a news conference at Target Field.

“It’s pretty exciting. I’m a huge Molitor fan,” Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. “He’s a bright individual, with a better IQ in the game of baseball than anyone I’ve ever been around. He’s just an exceptional man.”

This is the first managing job at any level for Molitor, who has the 10th-most hits in major league history. He spent 2014 as a coach on Gardenhire’s staff. Before that, he served for 10 seasons as a minor league instructor in the organization.

Qualifying offers

Giants World Series star Pablo Sandoval was among the free agents given $15.3 million qualifying offers by their former teams.

The Tigers made the offers to pitcher Max Scherzer and first baseman-designated hitter Victor Martinez.

Also receiving offers were shortstop Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers), outfielder Nelson Cruz (Orioles), right-hander James Shields (Royals), closer David Robertson (Yankees), outfielder Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), pitcher Ervin Santana (Braves) and outfielder Michael Cuddyer (Rockies).

Players Choice Awards

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was voted the player of the year in balloting by his fellow major leaguers.

The players’ union said Kershaw also won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award for a player who most inspires others through his efforts on and off the field.

Kershaw was 21-3 with a major league-best 1.77 ERA. He was also voted the NL’s outstanding pitcher.

The Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton was voted the NL’s outstanding player. Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison was a finalist for that award. The Angels’ Mike Trout was selected the AL’s outstanding player. Seattle’s Felix Hernandez was voted the AL’s outstanding pitcher.

White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu won AL Outstanding Rookie and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom NL Outstanding Rookie. Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee and Mariners pitcher Chris Young were voted top comeback players. Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez was a finalist for NL comeback player.

Trammell back with Tigers

Former Tigers manager Alan Trammell is returning to the team as a special assistant to team president Dave Dombrowski. Trammell, who played 20 years for the Tigers from 1977-96 and was the MVP of their 1984 World Series victory over San Diego, rejoins the franchise after spending the last four seasons as a bench coach for the Diamondbacks.

Extra bases

Aramis Ramirez accepted his half of the $14 million mutual option in his contract with the Brewers. Ramirez hit .285 with 15 homers and 66 RBIs in 133 games this past season. … The Rangers reinstated nine players from the 60-day disabled list, including pitcher Yu Darvish and first baseman Prince Fielder … The Astros claimed right-hander Will Harris (29 games, 4.34 ERA) off waivers from Arizona. … The Rays exercised a $2.5 million option on right-handed reliever Joel Peralta (3-4, 4.41). … The Cubs agreed to a one-year deal with left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada (4-4, 3.25 ERA).

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