Shocker! Joe Maddon to opt out of his contract and leave the Rays

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This report from Buster Olney is a total shocker. Like, for real. Mostly because Maddon is under contract with the Rays through 2015 and, unless I missed it, no one had reported that he had an opt-out provision at all.

UPDATE: Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has released a statement confirming the opt-out.

As soon as Andrew Friedman left the Rays GM job to take over the Dodgers, people speculated that he’d try to lure Joe Maddon. Maddon, however, immediately responded to the speculation by saying he was happy in Tampa Bay and had no intention of leaving. For his part, Friedman said that he is on the same page with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and intended to head into 2015 with him.

Will Maddon go to Los Angeles, or is he simply not interested in staying in Tampa Bay now that his former boss is gone?

Either way, remember when A-Rod opted out of his contract during the World Series and was called a selfish, classless attention-seeker? Why do I feel this move won’t be treated in quite the same way but, rather, a smart, trendy and ingenious decision?

No lease extension, but O’s and governor tout partnership

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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.