Update: Joe Maddon leaving Rays effective immediately

Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

UPDATE: as of 3:30 pm ET

Well, here’s one rumor that has officially been squashed, that Mattingly’s job as the Dodgers’ skipper may be in jeopardy. Reported by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Friedman reiterated today that Mattingly’s job is absolutely NOT in jeopardy!!

There’s also been more speculation within the past hour or so that the Chicago Cubs could be a possible landing spot for Maddon. FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal made clear that it is a possibility being that the Cubs have enough money to simply buy out the final 2 seasons of the contract of current manager, Rick Renteria, which would help complete the complete overhaul the Cubs have been working on of late.

As for my prior speculation that Maddon may have higher baseball aspirations than managing (he still could!) the have been quieted for now. Maddon’s agent, Alan Nero said he expects that Maddon will land a position managing in 2015 via Marc Topkin on Twitter,

Check back here on BBSTmlb for all the latest updates on Joe Maddon, the Rays and everything else going on around MLB!

Breaking News: Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

Well, it’s news we were all thinking might happen when general manager Andrew Friedman left the Tampa Bay Rays to become the president of baseball operations with the Los Angeles Dodgers  but it’s breaking news either way: Joe Maddon has opted out of his contract as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays effective immediately, according to a Tweet by ESPN’s Buster Olney,

I did say we were all thinking it might happen especially at first but then Maddon told Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune that he expected to sign an extension with the Rays and remain with the club for what would have been the foreseeable future.

That was 10 days ago. Maybe it was the fact that there was nothing already in the works? A statement released by team owner Stuart Sternberg confirmed the news that Maddon would be leaving even though his contract went through the 2015 season.  However, something must have been in the works because Sternberg also stated that the club 

“tried diligently and aggressively to sign [Maddon] to a third contract extension prior to his decision.”

Even though Maddon’s contract was through the 2015 season his opt-out clause vested with Friedman’s departure from the club, leading to the belief that I metioned, that he may leave the Rays and also that he may follow Friedman to the Dodgers.

Friedman has said since that he intends on hiring a general manager and keeping Don Mattingly as the Dodgers manager. Whether or not the second part of that intent still holds true remains to be seen.

There are other options out there for Maddon. As Sternberg said in his statement, Maddon has now,

“enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball.”

Maddon apparently spoke to Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, who later tweeted,

There is still the opening for the Minnesota Twins managerial position but the team seems to have already narrowed down their list of candidates as former Twins’ player Paul Moliter has been through two interviews and others such as Cleveland Indians’ bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. have been eliminated as a potential successor to Twins’ former manager Ron Gardenhire.

Could Don Mattingly be on the hot seat with Maddon out there as a free agent? Or could Maddon be looking at becoming a general manager? (The Dodgers are hiring!)

For now all anyone can do is speculate on where Maddon will end up next. What is official is that Maddon will not be the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 and that now the Twins are not the only team looking to hire a manager.

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