Pretty huge news today, as Joe Maddon has apparently exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and is no longer the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays:
Sources: Manager Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and is leaving the Tampa Bay Rays immediately.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 24, 2014
Maddon is considered one of the top managers in the game, and there was some speculation he might leave the team after 2015, given that Rays general manager Andrew Friedman left to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as their g.m. (for a reported 5 years, $35 million, a pretty hefty raise).
Had the Rangers not already hired Jeff Banister, Maddon would almost certainly be at the top of their list. And even with Banister having been hired, at least one writer is wondering if they could switch horses already:
Wonder if #Rangers could pivot and pay big bucks to bring in Maddon to manage talented group— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) October 24, 2014
Conversely, the Dodgers could axe Don Mattingly and bring in Maddon, instead.
UPDATE -- Well, Sherman says nevermind, he forgot the Rangers already had a manager...
I am sorry. I was going over list quick in my cluttered brain. #Rangers hired Banister. Don’t think they would be player for Maddon— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) October 24, 2014
UPDATE -- Ken Rosenthal says that Maddon isn't going to Los Angeles:
Source: Maddon NOT heading to #Dodgers.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 24, 2014
UPDATE -- Maddon says there is nothing imminent on his side:
Maddon said he has nothing lined up at this point after leaving #Rays. Said he would prefer to manage in '15 but could still stay involved— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) October 24, 2014