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Joe Maddon heading to the Cubs?

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That didn't take long.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Heyman burst open the interwebs ahead of the World Series Game 7, reporting that Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs are finalizing a contract to make him manager of the club.

For their part, the Cubs have denied the rumor, while Maddon and his agent (who lives and works in Chicago) have been reportedly silent.

Heyman:

The contract, once finalized, is expected to make Maddon one of the highest-paid managers in baseball and quite likely the best-paid in the National League. Mike Scioscia's Angels deal pays him $5 million annually, so he sets the standard.

Cubs president Theo Epstein has long been an admirer of Maddon, according to people close to the team. The Cubs intend to make a big splash in free agency, and this represents a big start.

But wouldn't the Cubs need to fire their current manager in such a scenario? Glad you asked.

Current Cubs manager Rick Renteria was told the team was exploring the possibility of hiring Maddon, who became a free agent after recently opting out of his Rays deal.

Should it all be finalized, it's likely that the Cubs wanted to wait until after the World Series had ended to make everything official. Heyman just jumped the gun.

Another incentive to delay the announcement of a deal may also be perception.

MLB's tampering rules state: "there shall be no negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any club other than the club with which [the player] is under contract or acceptance of terms."

Essentially, a team is not allowed to discuss employment with a player or staff member while he is under contract with another team.

Given the speed at which the sides have progressed to this point, there is a league expectation that the Rays may file a tampering grievance, which after everything that's happened, would just be a joy.

This is what it's like for us in the internet age to lose the face of the franchise: The news of the event is announced not by a team, but on a social media platform, where earlier this evening, Joe Maddon officially changed his twitter handle from @RaysJoeMaddon to @Maddonini.

If that doesn't feel final, I don't know what does.