Talk about shocking news. Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays announced that Joe Maddon decided to opt-out of his contract. He will not return as the Rays manager in 2015. Less than two weeks ago, Maddon said he is a Ray and wants to remain with the Rays.
Well, apparently not.
Reports say that the Rays offered him a significant raise, but Maddon turned it down. He’s now available for any other team that wants him. He’s one of the best managers in baseball, so he should have no problem becoming a manager elsewhere. It seemed like the departure of their general manager Andrew Friedman for Hollywood may have been the tipping point for Maddon. Friedman went to the Dodgers for $35 million, which you can’t blame him for.
While the move came out of nowhere, you can see why Maddon decided to go. A low payroll and now a new GM could mean a return to irrelevancy for Tampa Bay. It’s going to be tough for them to compete with their salary cap restrictions and low attendance. Rumors are saying that he may go to either the Cubs or Twins. Not sure if either of those positions are going to be much better than what he had in Tampa Bay. I’m sure he will be getting plenty of interest around the league, but those seem to be the top two targets.
Maddon probably made the right choice, but it was definitely a shocking one. We’ll see what is next in store. Wherever it may be, Maddon’s track record proves itself. He’s a winner, his players love him, and he doesn’t change his mindset win or lose. Whatever team brings him aboard will be a lucky one.