Joe Maddon “very confident” he’ll sign extension with Rays

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Joe Maddon is entering the final season of his contract with the Rays, but the reigning Manager of the Year told reporters at the winter meetings that he’s “very confident” the two sides will be able to work out an extension.

Maddon revealed that they’ve already begun talking and said he’s “really not concerned about it” because “I’m sure it’s going to be all worked out in due time.”

He also said going into the season without a new deal in place wouldn’t bother him, but as Jim Riggleman and Ozzie Guillen would attest to generally speaking managers who don’t get extensions with one year remaining on their contracts eventually run into issues.

According to Cot’s Contracts he’ll be paid around $1.4 million for 2012 as part of a three-year deal inked in May of 2009, so Maddon should be in line for a sizable raise.

Félix Hernández to rejoin Mariners’ rotation for final start of 2018

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Mariners starter Félix Hernández will come off of the disabled list to make his final start of 2018 on Wednesday against the Athletics, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. Hernández has been on the disabled list since September 8 with a right hamstring strain.

Hernández, 32, has endured the worst season of his 14-year career. He’s 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA and a 121/57 K/BB ratio over 151 2/3 innings. Hernández wants the opportunity to finish 2018 on a good note. He said, “I feel good. No problems. It’s 100 percent. I just want to finish strong and show them I can still pitch. It wasn’t a big injury. They just wanted to give me some rest.”

Hernández is under contract for one more year at $27 million. He has been the face of the franchise for the last decade, but if he doesn’t show he’s capable of beating major league hitters by the end of spring training next year, the Mariners may not be able to afford to give him a spot in the starting rotation. Despite a second-half slide, the Mariners were competitive in the AL West this year, entering the All-Star break 58-39, five games out of first place. With some roster fine-tuning, the Mariners could give the Astros and Athletics a run for their money. Hernández’s involvement with that effort remains to be seen.