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Joe Maddon opts out of contract, leaves Rays

The manager will pursue other opportunities after nine seasons with the Rays.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rays manager Joe Maddon has opted out of his contract and left the organization, as first reported by Buster Olney of The 60-year old will now "explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball", according to a statement from Rays' president Stuart Sternberg.

Though speculation of Maddon's departure has run rampant since Andrew Friedman left the Rays for the Dodgers, the manager was expected to stay in Tampa once Friedman committed to working with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on a long-term basis. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Friedman has publicly stated that Mattingly will be the Dodgers' manager in 2015, meaning that Maddon will have to look for opportunities elsewhere.

In nine seasons as the Rays' manager, Maddon compiled a 754-705 record (.517) while making the postseason on four occasions and reaching the World Series in 2008. He is widely regarded as one of the best managers in baseball and will have no trouble finding work elsewhere despite the fact that the Twins, who are expected to decide on a new manager within the next couple of days, are the only team with a managerial opening in the majors.

It will be fascinating to see where Maddon ends up for next season, as many teams will likely consider hiring him in place of their current managers. According to Ken Rosenthal of, the Cubs are currently viewed throughout the industry as the leader for Maddon's services, though Maddon's agent Alan Nero expects 4-5 teams vying for the manager now that he is a free agent.