Joe Maddon has resigned as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, opting out of the remainder of his contract. He had a clause in his deal that let him leave the Rays if the GM left (GM Andrew Friedman moved to the Dodgers last week).
The timing is interesting here, since three teams (Astros, Rangers, DBacks) have already hired new managers this off-season. Maddon’s options have dwindled to Minnesota, the only organization that currently has an opening.
However, there are a few clubs that could be looking to make an upgrade…
New York Mets: Terry Collins has done a fine job with the young but sometimes punchless Metropolitans, but the prospect of swapping him out for Joe Maddon should be very intriguing for GM Sandy Alderson. The Mets appear to need some type of dramatic change to kick-start their youth movement and maybe Maddon is it.
Chicago Cubs: Rick Renteria is the current manager in Chicago but that could change fast if Theo and company decide they want to attack this new free agent. The Cubs are loaded with young bats and could soon be close to competing for a division title. Maddon’s progressive approach to managing would match the front office perspective.
Atlanta Braves: After a dud of a season in 2014, Fredi Gonzalez could very well be on the hot seat in Atlanta. Add the hiring of John Hart as the club’s new President of Baseball Operations and the field manager position could be in serious jeopardy. I don’t see Maddon fitting in with the old school approach of Hart and John Schuerholz, but you never know.
Anyone else interested in the bespectacled leader? Marlins? Reds? Brewers? Phillies? Rockies? Somewhat strangely, outside of the Twins I do not see another American League team that would be seriously in on Maddon.
Rarely is a managerial move this intriguing, but rarely is there a manager available that has the potential to effect the standings as much as Joe Maddon.