As I mentioned previously Rays manager Joe Maddon had invoked an opt-out clause in his contract and had left the Rays after 9 successful years. A small aside in local reporting was that the Rays were going to look into the possibility of tampering because of the sudden departure.
Subsequent articles in the Tampa Bay Times have continued to press the case for tampering and in today's paper it is all but stated categorically that the team will pursue these charges with MLB.
Supposedly the Rays are stunned, stunned I tell ya, that Maddon would leave the team so suddenly. In the paper's previous reporting, Maddon was unaware of the opt-out clause until Stu Sternberg graciously informed him of it during contract negotiations.
So what we have here is a guy who the Times says is arguably the best line-up card filler outer and pitching change caller forer in the game (hat tip: Times resident asshat Tom Jones) who is looking for $5mil a year and is offered 60% of that. The guy asks to assess his value on the open market and is told no. The guy learns he can leave his current employer without consequence.
And both the team and the paper can't understand why he left?!
Both the team and the paper are stunned that Maddon would go to a storied hard luck team like the Cubs?! A place where he has a rabid fan base that fills the stadium for every game. With a big budget to get players. Where the current GM had him on the short list for a job with another storied hard luck franchise (Red Sox) some years back.
The Times says the Rays are convinced that something changed between Maddon and the team before he exercised his opt-out clause.
Yeah . . . dude opened his eyes and realized he was going nowhere with the penny pinching Rays and had a chance at baseball immortality as the manager who brought the Cubs their first World Series title since 1908. How is that so hard to wrap your head around?
But in typical Rays fashion, the team is going to whine ahead with tampering charges. And as an added insult, there have been sotto voce comments about the Cubs being exempt from interviewing minority candidates prior to hiring Maddon along with how horrible is was that then current manager Rick Renteria was given the dreaded vote of confidence and then summarily dismissed.
I'm not a fan of Maddon's head games or the perpetual victim mentality he cultivated with the Rays. But I'm starting to wonder if some of this has trickled down from the front office. Maybe it is part of the reason Andrew Friedman left the team as well.
It will be interesting to see who follows Maddon as manager here. The team has apparently been asking the players what sort of coach they'd like to see come in. Because that's what all employers do -- ask the employees what kind of boss they want before they go hiring one. What could go wrong?
And for no other reason, here's Twitter maven Adrianne Curry from a recent Kendal Carson photoshoot: