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.
Sources: Manager Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and is leaving the Tampa Bay Rays immediately.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 24, 2014
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?