Longtime Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and will be leaving Tampa, Buster Olney of ESPN.com first reported earlier Friday afternoon.
Maddon was given an opportunity to opt-out of his contract when general manager Andrew Friedman left the team to go to the Dodgers, based on a special clause, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported. He was allowed a two-week window following Friedman's resignation to make a decision, as he told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Very early speculation was that Maddon could head to the Dodgers, due to his ties with their now-President of Baseball Operations in Friedman. However, Don Mattingly will continue to manage the team in 2015, Friedman said. Joe Maddon's availability will not change that. Other speculations included the New York Mets, but owner Jeff Wilpon told Heyman that they would not be changing managers. The Cubs also seem like they could be a fit for Maddon as well.
It's been a rough start to the offseason for the Rays, who have lost both their brains in the front office in Andrew Friedman and their brains on the field in Joe Maddon. It will take a lot to replace those two, as they were vital in the Rays continued success. It will be hard for them to come back into contention in 2015 without both Maddon and Friedman. But the Rays are a forward-thinking team and could be able to pull something off.
The only current managerial job that is open is of the Minnesota Twins, however, they appear to be close to finding a replacement as they have narrowed their search to three candidates. Even though the opportunities appear bleak, Maddon would still want to manage in 2015.
"I'd love to manage," Maddon told Rosenthal. If the right opportunity does not present itself, I would want to work. But I would hope it would be a managing position. If not, there are other things I can do that would make me an even better manager when I get the opportunity again."
Maddon's agent, Alan Nero, told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he believed that Maddon will "manage somewhere" in 2015.
Maddon has been managing the Tampa Bay Rays since 2006. In nine years under the leadership of Maddon, the Rays have gone 754-705 (.517) and made the postseason four times, including an American League pennant in 2008. The 60-year-old Maddon is a native of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and has won two American League Manager of the Year awards in both 2008 and 2011. His experience and leadership make him one of the most respected managers in the game.