I do not want to place a number on how many wins Papa Joe needed in order to earn an extension. Obviously Stuart Sternberg and Andrew Friedman will judge a number of factors before making a decision. Each week I will take a look at how Maddon is performing in each of five categories. While this list is likely not complete, I do believe these are the most important factors in determining whether or not Joe Maddon can be a winning baseball manager.
- Wins: 8-10, 3.5 games behind, last place in AL East
- Fundamentals on the field: This is the one spot that the Rays have shown absolutely no improvement from last year to this year. I can’t even count how many times a player has been thrown out on the base paths. The Rays are third in the AL in steals, but lead the league in caught stealing. Things are not much better at the plate. The Rays are 3rd in the AL with 118 strikeouts, but only have 60 walks (11th in AL). Things are a little better on the mound where only two teams in the AL have given up fewer walks than the Rays’ 54. Only 3 teams in the AL have committed more errors, but the Rays are 2nd in the AL with a .724 Defensive Efficiency Rating. Rays catchers have yet to have a passed ball, but they have only thrown out 3 of 18 base stealers.
- Consistently competetive: Only 4 losses have been by more than 2 runs, so the Rays have been in 14 of the 18 games so far this year.
- Avoid prolonged slumps: The Rays already have a 4-game losing streak and a 3-game skid. They have yet to win more than 2 in a row.
- Control the clubhouse:No stories have surfaced
- Summary: I love the patience of the Rays even if we have to deal with stories like this. But I have to wonder how much patience they will have if the Rays finish in last place again after spending as much money as they have and with the new stadium still awaiting approval. To me it just seems fitting that Maddon’s Chernoff Face is frowning. And while the Rays have dealt with a slew of injuries including to two of the top three pitchers, the Rays are underperforming. Keep in mind that the Rays have won one of Jason Hammel’s three starts. How many of those would Scott Kazmir won? Two? So the injury has cost the Rays 1 win. There are just still way too many blunders in the field from the entire team. When the Rays start getting healthy in the next few weeks, they better start winning games or Maddon’s career in blue will be a short one.