Before Joe Madden arrived in 2006, the Rays were 518-775 under their first three managers. Since his arrival, and working with perennially one of the lowest team payrolls in baseball, all Joe Maddon has done is make the playoffs three times, win two AL East titles, reach the World Series once, and win TWO AL Manager of the Year awards (2008 and 2011). The 58-year old learned all the tricks of the trade serving in the Angels organization for 31 years, and has been nothing short of a miracle worker with the Rays on their shoestring budget. For all his devotion and success, the Rays front office gave Maddon a $6M, 3-year contract extension last week. But I say the cheap Rays’ brass dropped the ball on Maddon!
Joe Maddon is loved and respected by all those that play for him. Only three other current MLB managers have been with their team longer. He is THE perfect fit for the Rays. His style is definitely quirky, but it works! He’s also never met a lineup change he doesn’t like. With his success in baseball’s toughest division, he could have commanded near Girardi or Valentine money on the open market. Further, he’ll only be a “young” 61 when the new contract extension runs out…….nowhere near retirement for this creative baseball genius. Consider that at least four other modern-era managers kept it going longer…..Walter Alston (65), Tony LaRussa (67), Bobby Cox (69) and Tommy Lasorda (69). His easy-going, sabermetric-style is perfect for the Rays. Many baseball insiders say he is flat out the best manager in the game today.
To really get a greater appreciation for Maddon, just consider last season. The Rays had lost Carl Crawford (their franchise player), Carlos Pena (RBI leader), Matt Garza (#2 starter), and just about their entire bullpen BEFORE the season even began. They started 0-6, but somehow won 17 of the final 25 games (the last 5 in a row) to get to a remarkable 91-71, and jump over the collapsing Red Sox and into the wild card slot. Fans are still trying to figure out how he was able to revive his team when everyone was predicting doom and gloom. Why didn’t the Rays ownership realize how lucky they are to have a manager that is eternally optimistic and can always get the most out of his players? Wake up Rays’ front office and dig into your deep pockets….. Joe Maddon should be treated and paid like the top manager in the game!
- MLB Manager of the Year Awards 2011: Rays Joe Maddon Is Top Skipper in AL (bleacherreport.com)
Filed under: Pro Baseball
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