Joe Maddon said that, until the Tampa Bay Rays brought it up, he had no idea he could opt out of his contract as Rays manager if general manager Andrew Friedman left the team.
Friedman jumped for the Dodgers and then Maddon jumped too.
As much as they are trying to tone it down, and tampering allegations have even occurred, the favorite to land Maddon is now the Chicago Cubs. It only makes sense.
Cubs management and Maddon are like-minded and logic-based baseball people, not prone to stick with things just because that's the way it's always been done.
“I had totally forgotten about it,” Maddon told the New York Times from his RV while heading from Florida to California. “Andrew leaves, and I get a phone call that I have an opt-out clause. Otherwise I would not have known, I swear to you.”
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Maddon has been part of an incredible run of success in Tampa with the Rays, an organization that annually had top picks and terrible teams before he arrived.
Maddon, along with Friedman and Andrew Silverstein, brought a different attitude to the team.
They got rid of guys like Delmon Young who were talented with poor attitudes and built a team that reached the World Series around players like James Shields and Evan Longoria.
But the team was always held back by its lack of money.
They shipped off Shields and Wade Davis in a deal for slugging prospect Wil Myers that was looked at as a steal for the Rays. Carl Crawford skipped town, and this fall they felt compelled to sell off ace David Price to the highest bidder (the Detroit Tigers) as well.
So, the team could be good in waves but would never have the payroll to consistently compete for titles year after year.
Why the Cubs?
The Cubs aren't good and haven't been good for awhile. But there is a level of promise from the team that hasn't been seen in awhile too.
There's also a belief that, when the time comes, the Cubs have positioned themselves to increase payroll and do what it takes to win with their Wrigley Field renovations that should lead to consistent revenue for the team through advertising deals.
The Cubs are in possession of an immaculate collection of talent that needs the right manager to teach it how to win. Maddon did that for the Rays, he could do that for the Cubs.
It's simply a matter of the deal coming together and some of those prospects panning out, which has a lot to do with who manages the team.
The odd man out here would be current Cubs manager Rick Renteria, but that wouldn't surprise everyone that he isn't there to see the process through with the team.
Where else could Maddon go?
The only other job currently open is Minnesota, but Maddon's agent told CBSSports' he has been contacted by 10 teams with different types of job offers for Maddon.
"Joe is prepared not to manage [in 2015]," Maddon's agent Alan Nero told Chicago radio station WSCR. "If you remember when we got Lou Piniella out of his job, ironically with Tampa, he spent a year with the FOX network and he had a good year before he went on to ironically become the Cubs manager."
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