Joe Maddon

It’s the next day and it wasn’t a bad dream. Andrew Friedman is now the president of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now Rays fans are worried that Joe Maddon will join him and there are plenty of reasons why we should not be surprised if it does happen.

However, there are also a lot of reasons to think Maddon is going to remain with the Rays for a while.

The biggest hope comes from Maddon’s own words during an interview with Bill Shaikin of the LA Times.

I want to continue to be a Ray, absolutely … I’m really embedded here pretty well. The roots are pretty strong. We have a great infrastructure here. We have a great operation. We have great people … There’s so much to like.

Of course, I wouldn’t expect Maddon to say much different at this point as long he is still the manager of the Rays and as long the Dodgers still have Don Mattingly as their manager. Saying anything else would hurt his chances of an extension with the Rays if the Dodgers position doesn’t open up.

But there is also truth to what Maddon is saying. He is pretty well embedded in the Bay Area.

While he does still have a home in the Los Angeles area, his permanent residence is now in a Tampa home once owned by Bucs coach John McKay.

In addition, Maddon is heavily involved in his new restaurant slated to open in Tampa in November.

Ultimately, if Friedman does go after Maddon, whether it is before or after the 2015 season, Maddon will have plenty of pros and cons to weigh.

And then there is this which may mean something or it may not. Maddon had a congratulatory tweet for Friedman in which he called him not just a friend, but a great friend *cue the dramatic music*.

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11 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    I guess I need to dust off my copy of The Extra 2% and try and discern what exactly he does that makes him "the best at what he does." Are the Rays a collaborative effort from the owner to the manager, or is Friedman some kind of savant who can be the best at what he does 8 years after wondering off of Wall Street?

    I think it was a nice thing for Joe to say (and buttering up a future employer is pretty smart), but I'm not really sure what to make of who did what in there. I do remember a trade deadline where Friedman was in the hospital and nothing happened. But other trade dealines came and went and nothing happened either. Tough to read the tea leaves.

    It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Silverman to take the job of the guy he hired 9 years ago. I think this is more part of an overall plan to keep Friedman from raiding the rest of the cupboard at the Rays front office. The good news is that nobody ever loses their job in LA, they just get kicked upstairs, so it is a crowded front office and Coletti will fight to keep his guys in place.

    The other good news is this move will allow some much needed oxygen in the front office of the Rays. I don't think I was alone among Rays fans at the end of last season watching that team on the field, and the frustration with the construction and the unbedning belief in the metrics some times in the face of a changing baseball world. Scoring is down all over, the strike zone is expanding dramatically and run prevention isn't the premium it once was. Hopefully that reality is coming through, because I think the Rays operated in 2013-14 like it was 2008-09. To paraphrase Rick Pitino, Carlos Pena is not walking through that door.

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  2. Dave L says:

    If you look at it without emotion, like Friedman would do, Maddon's status is nearly identical to Zobrist's. The two longest tenured successful Rays assets whose times with the club may be over after 2015. They both have value trade wise Zobrist deinitely, Maddon quite possibly.

    Thier future depends upon what are the answers to the following questions.

    Can the Rays contend for a WS title in 2015? If yes--- consider keeping them both under any conditions. If no--- consider dealing them.

    Could the Rays and Should the Rays extend both of them past their post 2015 walk away scot free date? Forget the touchy feely loving being a Ray nonsense. You are a fan. This is how they earn money. Based upon market forces and Rays allocated resources I say Zobrist, very unlikely, Maddon less so but still unlikely. If so then DO IT in the next 30 to 60 days. If not then weigh the value of dealing them if you answered yes to question 1.

    But if you answered no to question 1, the Rays cannot compete for a title and you can't extend them past next year, then the only remaining Friedman logic of weak revenue franchise sustainability dictates you DEAL them both for whatever the best packages of prospects you can possibly obtain.

    The Friedman legacy was delayed gratification of the present in order to provide the seeds of success in the future. Not always, like in the case of Carl Crawford when there was immediate hope--- then you fish. But when you must concede, this aint the year, it is the logical choice to cut bait.

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    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      If the Rays think they can march out a slightly tweaked version of this season's roster next year and expect to contend for 2015 they are the embodiment of Einstein's definition of insane (to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result).

      I hate to be "that guy" but I sure would love to see a Rays' team that doesn't include Derek Shelton- just so we can put the argument to rest before all the talent fades quietly into the night

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      • OriginalTom says:

        I do not think they need a complete overhaul. The team was 4th in the league in DP's but first in LOB. I think much of that is random. There OBP and Slugging percentage were close to the Royals yet the Royals scored 651 runs and the Rays 612. I would expect the team will be closer to 650 runs scored than 600.

        On another level, Longo, Myers, and Escobar had 13.1 WAR in 2013 but only 3.8 WAR in 2014. Steamer projects the trio will have 9.8 WAR in 2014 which is a 6 win improvement right there.

        They still needs some tweeks, I would like to see them trade an excess outfielder for another catcher. Molina and Casili were terrible. But I do not see a need for a major overhaul. I figure the Rays were basically a .500 team last year and if you can get a reasonable 6 win improvement from Longo, Myers, and Escobar, not have the same April/May bullpen troubles (I am looking at you Bell, Lueke, and Balfour) and get another decent catcher to go along with Hanigan a Rays season more in line with 2008-2013 is not out of the question.

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  3. mp645 says:

    I agree. I have used the Einstein analogy on other blog sites. Just how will the Rays suddenly get better with the exact same players (most can't hit over 240) and the same horrible hitting coach, same manager? they can't!. Time to clean house from the top down. There are now four managers looking for work. There should be more.

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    • Dave L says:

      Actually Mrsmith and MP the Einstein Theory in reverse is what brought us the 2014 season.

      The 2013 playoff season gave us the optimistic Einstein saying if it worked in 2013 lets tweak it slightly and with a little maturity we can improve in 2014. SI picked the Rays as WS champs. The collective Rays Index community was ebullient as well.

      The 2014 team was the most returned squad in the AF era. Entire 'nearly gold glove infield' remained in tact. Outfield was basically the same with the hopeful emergence of a Guyer and a full season of ROY Myers. Lobaton was swapped out for a veteran improved throwing and staff handling Hannigan.

      The pen has always been ad hoc but it usually worked. The only major swap was Balfour for Rodney. Despite Gus's indignant rearview mirror criticism, NOBODY in Rays land, fans, media etc.(including Gus) did any thing but praise the move. NOBODY lobbied to keep Rodney. Rather it was lauded as a coup at a discount!

      So what happened was 3/5's of the starting rotation missing the first month at least. The overworked pen collapsed as all overworked pens do. Virtually every position player having an off year offensively and in many cases defensively and more untimely injuries. Shifts, which they had previously elevated to an art form, ended up hoisting the Rays by thier own petard.

      2014 lesson wasn't about anything being done badly Over and Over. It was done once, 2014 and everything that could happen badly, did. Remember 2008 to 2013? I remember it fondly. It was one horrific season. There is no need to clean house. I want to keep Maddon. I want to keep Zobrist. the Friedman formula worked way more often than not.

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      • Gus says:

        http://www.raysindex.com/2014/01/rays-to-sign-grant-balfour.html

        I didn't praise Balfour, but there sure is a lot of Dave L. love for him in the comments.

        To be fair to you and all Rays fans though, at some point you are trusting in the front office (who sees the medicals and has more information) that in the off-season they know what they are doing.

        But 2014 was the year where that trust was lost --- all of the signings for multiple years were out of character, the Rays fielded the oldest lineup in the AL and couldn't play defense, the 2008 and later draft picks continued to fail at an epic pace and they fielded a team with complete neglect of the offensive part of the game when offense is at a premium. It turns out the front office isn't unasailable, and the immunity shield they had with the press, DRays BBay and other outlets was slowly wearing away.

        I appreciate my fellow cranks and skeptics on this blog who are huge Rays fans but don't blindly kiss the ring of management. Andy Friedman isn't writing a goodbye love letter to this blog because he rightly gets questioned here (sometimes unfairly, but mostly with some justification).

        Running a sports team is hard. Running it on a tight budget is harder. They have done a good job, mostly great. But 2014 was a bad year for management, not an unlucky one, and also the product of years of horrible drafting not helping out at the MLB level. You could replay the 2014 season 50 times and that offense still stinks. Even if Balfour doesn't have his hand in 10-11 losses (and his ineffectiveness has nothing to do with being overworked; he was a stiff from Day 1 of camp), they still don't make the World Series.

        The Rays hopefully recognize this and will re-tool. In this sense, Friedman leaving while the cupboard is seemingly a bit empty is okay because it will allow them to change course to some degree without looking like they are disavowing the tenets they held on to so strongly in player evaluation.

        First place to start: how we evaluate catchers at all levels. The single greatest failure of the past decade.

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        • Tom says:

          "The Rays Fielded the oldest lineup in Baseball"

          really I would not have guessed that. Older than the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox? The Rays only had a couple of guys over 30. How was the line up age calculated?

          "They could not play defense"

          I thought Kiermayer was excellent. Jennings, Loney, Hannigan and Zobrist were all good. Longoria was average. Molina and Escobar sucked and everyone else was middling. They were near the top of the league in fielding percentage and most other advanced metric have them at middle of the pack.

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          • Gus says:

            For the "old lineup" cite, see this column:

            http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/98732228/andrew-friedman-los-angeles-dodgers-tampa-bay-rays

            It just says "one of" -- but I thought in watching one of the opposition telecasts this year (Toronto I think) they cited that it was the oldest line-up in the AL, but maybe that was a day where they had Molina and DeJesus, etc. in the lineup. The ESPN roster average age had them 22nd or so. In any case, not a young line-up at all.

            Defense: Catching was awful, SS was dead last in fielding (non-Jeter division). Those are your two most important positions. Longoria far below his standards. I actually think Des is not a good CF anymore - he cannot come in on balls anymore, gets terrible breaks and doesn't have good hands on balls he does get to, plus he has no arm. Myers was catostrophic in RF (blowing a game in Fenway and knocking himself out for 2 months in the process). They finished dead last in the league turning double plays. That was not an overall good defense despite nice seasons by Kiermayer and Loney in the field.

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          • Tom says:

            Gus,

            You will get no argument from me on SS defense being atrocious.

            Other than Molina I thought the catchers were fine defensively. Casali and Solis problems re the inability to hit.

            I think Jennings was actually better in center this year than he was last year.

            Longo has gone from GG caliber to merely good.

            Myers is a work in process in RF but I think he has the tools and showed improvement over 2014.

            I believe one of the reasons Smyly's number were better in TB and Price's were worse in Detroit was defense. The Tigers defense, particularly their outfield, is bad.

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        • Dave L says:

          I took a stand.

          Please send me the link to where you were on record questioning the Balfour move and your preference for keeping Rodney before the season started.

          The reason I doubt you can is because I never read anyone who took that stand.

          The overworked part I was referring to the pen. An overworked pen loses its effectiveness when lesser talented low leverage mop up guys start being put in positions to lose games for you which our did and by the time the starters got it together and got healthy we were eliminated.

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