Mets Unlikely To Hire Joe Maddon
If you haven’t heard, Joe Maddon has opted out of his contract as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays — he’s now a free agent.
However, it’s highly unlikely he will find his way to Flushing any time soon.
The “duh” assumption is that Maddon will wind up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, following his friend and former boss Andrew Friedman, who was just officially hired as LA’s President of Baseball Operations. Although it’s clear that Magic Johnson / Dodger ownership has made clear they will spare no cost in obtaining the best and the brightest at every level, on-field and off, I don’t see them hiring Maddon to manage — yet. If they do, that means they blame Don Mattingly for not making the World Series, and I just don’t believe that’s the thinking going on in Los Angeles. But, I’ve been wrong before.
There’s already some speculation that Maddon will sit out 2015 and wait until there might be vacancies in LA and Flushing, among other locations. I’m not so sure he’ll want to sit out. Again, I could be wrong, but I just don’t see him not managing for an entire season — he seems to be the kind of guy who truly enjoys his work. If he DOES take off or get a cushy TV job or something, then I’d bet the house he’s the Dodgers’ manager in 2016 — if Mattingly is dismissed.
Within an hour of the “Maddoning” news, a few rumors swirled that the erstwhile Tampa Bay manager was “interested” in the Mets. No way. First off, I doubt the Mets can afford him — he will cost at least $6M – $7M per year. Secondly, they’re happy with Terry Collins. Third, I can’t see hands-on Sandy Alderson hiring a manager who is not a marionette. Again, I could be wrong, but I’m not seeing it.
Where will Maddon land, if not LA? Some whispers suggest Chicago, which makes sense. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Maddon in Detroit, Atlanta, or Philadelphia. The Twins have a vacancy, but they can’t afford Maddon. It’s too late for Arizona, Houston, and Texas, who have already hired new field generals. I don’t know why, but I keep thinking the Braves and Phillies — the Braves, because they’re cleaning house and seem focused on making big changes, and the Phillies because, well, they have to do SOMETHING this offseason to keep their fanbase appeased, and Ryne Sandberg hasn’t made many friends in his brief tenure in Philly. Hiring a big name like Maddon to manage might save Ruben Amaro’s job (and prevent a drastic drop in season ticket sales).
What do you think? Any ideas where Maddon will wind up? A TV booth? If in the NL East, do you think he’ll make an appreciable difference and affect the Mets chances? Sound off in the comments.
Unfortunately, I, too, could see Maddon going to Philly. Amaro loves giving geezers wheelbarrows full of cash. And Maddon is a Pennsy guy.
Atlanta has more talent than Philly, though, and Maddon seems like a great fit there. I wonder what Chipper thinks…
A Philly hire of Maddon would be a raw deal for Sandberg, who showed some great qualities — not afraid to bench or discipline entitled veterans, willing to let Utley call off an IBB when he saw Abreu preparing to pinch hit, etc. The Phillies also don’t have a roster that a tinkerer like Maddon can do much with — I wouldn’t want that job if I were a manger looking to make a difference. Depends on Joe’s priorities — wins, location, money?
Collins is the Mets manager for 2015. If the team finishes under .500 again, the narrative of forward momentum will be hard to sell, and a change might be easier. If Maddon is on the market then, this would be the exact same type of signing that Granderson was — a likable, familiar, famous face to inspire hope and put butts in seats. I wouldn’t count the Mets out of the running at all.
Will Maddon sit out a year? He will if he wants to. Does he want to? It wouldn’t shock me. Maybe he’ll say something to clarify.