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Andrew Weber/Getty ImagesChicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told reporters Monday that manager Joe Maddon was informed the team wouldn't be discussing a contract extension this winter and "will re-evaluate the situation later in the 2019 season Ryon Healy Jersey ," according to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic.Maddon is under contract through the 2019 campaign.Monday's announcement doesn't come as a huge surprise. In early October,Ken Rosenthalof The Athletic reported that "for months talk has persisted within the industry that Epstein and Maddon are not always on the same page."Epstein did deny that report two weeks later, however."I didn't read the whole thing," he said at the time, perPaul Sullivanof theChicago Tribune. "But I saw in there that there were some claims that he and I had personal friction. Not true at all. We have a terrific working relationship."Also in early October,Bob NightengaleofUSA Todayreported that Maddon wouldn't be offered a contract extension this winter and would be evaluatedafter the 2019 season , despite Maddon hoping for an extension.All of that smoke turned out to be a fire.That doesn't mean that Maddon won't ultimately be retained. Under his watch, the Cubs have gone 387-261, reached the postseason in four straight years and won the World Series in 2016. Maddon has led one of the most successful periods in franchise history and ended the team's legendary World Series drought.But the 2018 season ended in disappointment, as the team blew a five-game lead in the NL Central in September, lost the divisional tiebreaker game to the Milwaukee Brewers and were one-and-done in the postseason, losing the Wild Card Game to the Colorado Rockies. That end to the season has led to questions about Maddon's future in Chicago , questions that won't be answered until some point in 2019. CHICAGO (AP) — With or without Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, the Chicago White Sox envision better days ahead.They head to spring training believing they are setting themselves up to turn the corner after six straight losing seasons, even if they don’t sign a superstar slugger to speed up the process.That’s because of the promising players they have on their roster and in the pipeline.“We’re trying to build something that’s going to win 95 (games) on an annual basis,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “The win total this year we expect to improve. Whether it’s 80 or 80-plus or under 80, it’s going to be almost more important how we get to that total. If the guys carrying the water are guys who are veterans in their free agent year and they’re the ones putting up big numbers and helping us win ballgames, (it might) make for an enjoyable summer. But it means a little bit less toward our long-term health than if it’s the young guys taking a step forward and putting themselves in a position to be part of that core we’re building.”The young core was a big part of the pitch as the White Sox wooed Machado and Harper. They tried to sell both players on being part of something big with a building team.Chicago went 62-100 last year and posted its highest loss total since the 1970 team dropped a franchise-record 106. The White Sox also struck out more times than any other team in major league history.But infielder Yoan Moncada and pitchers such as Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech have shown potential. One of baseball’s top hitting prospects Felix Hernandez Jersey , Eloy Jimenez, could debut early this season. And Dylan Cease might get called up to join the rotation at some point this year.The first workout for pitchers and catchers in Arizona is set for Feb. 13 and the first full squad workout is Feb. 18.NEW LOOKMachado would at least have some friends on the team if he signed with Chicago. The White Sox acquired his brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, in a trade from Cleveland and signed good friend Jon Jay. Chicago added pitching, getting starter Ivan Nova and reliever Alex Colome in trades. The White Sox also signed two-time All-Star Kelvin Herrera, who was part of a dominant bullpen that helped Kansas City win back-to-back pennants and the 2015 World Series.ROOKIES TO WATCHJimenez might start the season at Triple-A Charlotte and possibly stay there long enough to give the White Sox another year of contractual control. But even if he doesn’t break camp with Chicago Hisashi Iwakuma Jersey , he probably won’t be in the minors for long. The 22-year-old Jimenez batted .317 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs for Double-A Birmingham before getting promoted to Triple-A. He then hit .355 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs in 55 games for Charlotte.Cease is another one to watch after the 23-year-old right-hander dominated at Class A and Double-A last year, going a combined 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 160 strikeouts over 124 innings.Something else to keep an eye on: Kopech’s recovery. He had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and will miss the season after making four starts for Chicago last year.THEY’RE SETJose Abreu made his second All-Star team last season, though he missed most of the final six weeks because of surgery to repair a testicular torsion and then an infection in his right thigh shortly after returning. He and Alonso figure to share time at first base and designated hitter. The White Sox also have the makings of a solid rotation with Carlos Rodon, Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez in the majors and Cease working his way up.THEY’RE NOTThere are plenty of question marks surrounding the White Sox because they are relying on the development of their young players. One immediate goal would be for Moncada to cut down on the strikeouts after he led the majors with 217.ON DECKThe White Sox open at Kansas City on March 28 and play their first home game April 4 against Seattle.

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