by D4Assignment Staff
As reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney, Joe Maddon has decided to exercise an opt-out clause in his contract and is no longer the manager of the Tampa Rays. With the Minnesota Twins firing of manager Ron Gardenhire, Maddon was the second longest tenured manager in the Major league’s with nine years at the helm in Tampa. Only the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Scioscia (15 seasons), for whom Maddon served as bench coach prior to his hiring in Tampa, has been managed longer.
Speculation began last week when Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman left to take a new position as President of Baseball Operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers. At that time, Maddon told reporters he had no intention of going anywhere.
“I’m a Ray , I’ve said it all along, I want to continue to be one,” Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “‘I still believe … it’s the best place in all of baseball to work but I also stand by fact that ballpark needs to be improved.”
Maddon said there “no rush” to get an extension done as he wants to give the revised administration time to get comfortable. “I don’t really look to go anywhere else,” Maddon said. 1
Though no reason was given for the change of heart, Maddon’s contract was set to expire after the 2015 season and one would think he would not return next season without an extension. Owner Stu Sternberg told the press that the two sides had been working on an extension prior to Maddon’s decision to leave.
“We tried diligently and aggressively to sign Joe to a third contract extension prior to his decision,” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement Friday. “As of yesterday afternoon, Joe enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball. He will not be managing the Rays in 2015.”
It will be interesting to hear the reaction of Evan Longoria, who has played his entire career under Maddon and is signed through the 2023 season. Dave Martinez, Maddon’s bench coach since 2007, is the early favorite to replace his mentor.
1 – CBSsports.com
2 – ESPN.com