Manfred talks Maddon tampering, Wrigley Field

BRISTOL, Conn. -- New major league baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says the investigation into the hiring of Cubs manager Joe Maddon is still “ongoing” while a source also indicates it should be completed before the start of the 2015 season.

Speaking at ESPN headquarters Thursday, Manfred was asked if the Tampa Bay Rays' accusation of tampering in respect to Maddon leaving them for the Cubs was over.

“Over would not be the appropriate word to describe,” Manfred responded. “There is an ongoing investigation. To the extent it’s concluded, one way or another, we’ll be transparent about that. We’ll let you know.”

Maddon was hired by the Cubs in early November after opting out of his contract with Tampa Bay the previous week. After general manager Andrew Friedman left the Rays for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a clause kicked in on Maddon’s contract stating he could opt out of his deal which was set to run through the 2015 season. The Rays and Maddon had been talking about a contract extension when he bolted for Chicago. Tampa Bay claimed there was tampering. The Cubs denied the charge.

“It’s just wholly inaccurate,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said at the time. “There’s nothing to it.”

Maddon’s agent, Alan Nero, said the accusation was “embarrassing” for the Rays.

One rival executive says nothing will come of the charges but Manfred warned not to jump to conclusions until the investigation is complete.

Wrigley Field: Manfred isn’t concerned with the optics of Wrigley Field’s empty bleachers during a national telecast opening night or throughout the month of April. Construction is preventing fans from sitting in the bleachers during the first month of the season.

“Wrigley renovation, you need to think long term,” Manfred said. “It’s a huge positive for baseball to have that facility preserved and renovated and better serve the fans of the Cubs. Any construction project, there’s some uncertainty with the issue of timing. You really need to keep your eye on the long-term ball. I suspect I’ll be there opening night.”

Manfred wouldn’t commit to Wrigley Field hosting an All-Star Game once renovations are complete.

“One of the things I’m going to do with All-Star Games, I am looking to be more in a competitive, bidding, Super Bowl-awarding type mode. As opposed to (just saying) ‘Chicago is a good idea.’”