Since Andrew Friedman left the Tampa Bay Rays to join the Los Angeles Dodgers front office, speculation has been that Rays manager Joe Maddon would follow him to the West Coast.
Maddon denied any changes, saying that he planned to stay in Tampa Bay and work on a contract extension beyond 2015. Friedman also laid any rumors to rest by saying that the Dodgers were committed to their manager, Don Mattingly.
Things may have changed a bit today with some breaking news that has made Maddon available according to Buster Olney of ESPN:
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 had one year left on his deal and was reportedly working on an extension to keep him with the Rays for the significant future. This sudden change of plans will once again lead to rumors of him managing in Los Angeles. Friedman was adamant that Mattingly would manage the Dodgers in 2015 and likely beyond, but that was before his former colleague was on the open market.
The 60-year-old Maddon is a two-time Manager of the Year and led the Rays to the World Series in 2008. He is 781-729 in his managerial career and is often considered one of the brighter minds in the dugout. His handling of the clubhouse and everyday duties has been praised by many, and has been backed up by his success.
Mattingly has two years left on his extension; however, managers are often relieved of their duties before their contract expires. He has led the Dodgers to consecutive National League West titles, but has failed in the postseason. Mattingly is often criticized for his in-game managing and handling of the bullpen.
The Dodgers may stick with Mattingly for next season, but the rumors will continue to swirl until Maddon finds another job.