The Tampa Bay Rays announced that Joe Maddon has opted out of the final year of his contract and is no longer the manager of the team after efforts to negotiate an extension fell through.
The move appears to be a huge risk for Maddon as he could have stayed with the Rays next season and made another approximately $US2 million and become a free agent next winter. Instead, most of the managerial openings this off-season have already been filled and there is no indication that Maddon has a job lined up for the 2015 season.
Even before Maddon left the Rays there was speculation that he would become the manager of the Dodgers after Andrew Friedman left the Rays to become the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations. However, all indications are that Friedman and the Dodgers will stick with manager Don Mattingly, at least for the 2015 season. And Fox’s MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Maddon is not heading to Los Angeles.
Rosenthal went on to add that Maddon’s agent contacted several teams after his client opted out and that they expect “4-5 legit suitors.” This would have to include a number of teams that currently have managers as the only team currently with a vacancy is the Minnesota Twins.
One team that has been mentioned by several people in the industry, purely as speculation, is the Chicago Cubs. Their manager, Rick Renteria, is under contract through the 2016 season. Maddon was a finalist for the Boston Red Sox managerial position in 2004. Theo Epstein, who is now the Cubs president of baseball operations, was the general manager of the Red Sox at the time.
If Maddon can find a team willing to dump their current manager for him, he stands to get a huge raise. But if the right position doesn’t present itself, he will have to wait until next winter and he will have cost himself $US2 million.
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