MLB: Cubs didn't tamper in Maddon hiring

MLB: Cubs didn't tamper in Maddon hiring

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were cleared on Wednesday of tampering charges in connection with the hiring of manager Joe Maddon.

Major League Baseball issued a statement saying it had concluded its tampering investigation regarding Maddon's departure from the Rays and his subsequent hiring as manager of the Cubs. MLB said the investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k) on tampering.

"We're glad the process is over," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said on Wednesday. "The entire time, we encouraged them to be thorough. Obviously, there was no wrongdoing."

The only real question is why the process took so long, but Hoyer said the investigators had a lot of data to sort through and people to interview.

"This is the result we expected because there wasn't any wrongdoing," Hoyer said. "We're glad it's behind us."

So is Maddon.

"We're all glad that's in the rear-view mirror right now," Maddon said. "I'm very grateful it turned out the way it did, and let's move on and play baseball."

When Andrew Friedman, the Rays' former executive vice president of baseball operations, left Tampa Bay to take a job with the Dodgers, Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with the Rays, and he was named the Cubs' 54th manager in franchise history on Nov. 3.

Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, detailed the events that led to Maddon's hiring at that time, saying they received an email from Maddon's agent, Alan Nero, announcing his client's free-agent status. Epstein had contacted MLB to confirm that Maddon had opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay before responding to Nero.

Maddon had a two-week window in which to make a decision, and he and the Rays did discuss a contract extension, but he instead decided to see what else was available, and eventually signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Cubs.

Despite the investigation, Maddon has a good relationship with the Rays and stays in touch with several people on the team.

"From my perspective, obviously, there's zero hard feelings," Maddon said. "These are my guys for many years. Without the opportunity they gave me, I wouldn't be sitting here right now, and I'll always be grateful for that."

Stuart Sternberg, principal owner of the Rays, issued the following statement regarding the case:

"We make our decisions based on the facts at hand and the processes we trust. We can never be certain of the outcomes."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.