My goodness, how the small market mighty have fallen.
Just a couple weeks after Andrew Friedman left the Tampa Bay Rays to become the new head of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Rays manager, Joe Maddon, decided he didn't want to stick around in Florida either:
Hmmm. Wonder where he's going. RT @Buster_ESPN Sources: Joe Maddon exercised opt-out clause in his contract and is leaving Rays immediately.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) October 24, 2014
Early indications are that Maddon won't be replacing Don Mattingly, since Friedman is committed to keeping Mattingly for now. Here's what the Rays had to say:
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) October 24, 2014
And here are a couple reactions from two very smart people:
Two very smart people seem to have reached a conclusion that it's not going to work in Tampa Bay. That's a problem.
— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) October 24, 2014
— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) October 24, 2014
Something is amiss in Tampa Bay that caused a general manager who was seemingly happy to stay in place to suddenly bolt for the big time in LA. Then again, LA also offered Friedman $35MM so you don't exactly say no to a massive pay raise. But what about Maddon, who stated almost immediately after Friedman left that he would stick around? What changed his mind? Is there something amiss with the Tampa Bay system (player development, personnel, differences in philosophy) that made Maddon suddenly realize that he was in a bad situation? I can't even begin to speculate on what went wrong, but it seems apparent that the Rays are going to be in some turmoil for the forseeable future.
This also triggered some among Cubs Twitter to clamor for Theo Epstein to hire Joe Maddon immediately...except for the fact that we currently have a manager in the form of Rick Renteria. Renteria may not be a tactical genius (yet) but he did get the Cubs to improve on their previous season records and got the most out of his two core All-Stars and an inexperienced group of prospects. While hiring Joe Maddon does seem like a no-brainer, it's far more complicated than that, considering that the Cubs just had to hire a new hitting coach after Bill Mueller left, and also would have to explain to the organization why they got rid of a manager who everyone liked and who was also getting improved results.
It is too early to guess where Maddon ends up, but I'm going to wager it won't be with the Cubs. What's more important, though, is how this will affect the Rays and the potential trade market this offseason.
My guess on Joe Maddon: He eventually winds up with the Cubs.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 24, 2014
Well I guess we can cancel those fleeting hopes now. -dabynsky
Update: Boy was Rice Wrong
— The Beast 980 (@TheBeast980) October 24, 2014