MLB manager Joe Maddon left his position with the Tampa Bay Rays today, opting out of his contract in order to explore other management opportunities. The move comes despite the organization's desire to keep him on the team. Said Rays owner Stuart Sternberg in a statement released via Tampa Bay's Twitter acount:
To say the departure is shocking is an understatement. Maddon was 754-705 in his time with the Rays, was twice voted the AL Manager of the Year, and brought Tampa Bay to the playoffs in four different seasons, including 2008 when they appeared in the World Series. However, other opportunities are potentially available to Maddon, and rumors point toward Maddon replacing Don Mattingly as the Dodgers manager in Los Angeles.
Stay tuned for more developments in the story. The exact reasons for Maddon's decision remain unclear. However, it's logical to cite Tampa Bay's dreadfully low payroll as the reason, as the organization's depressing financial realities often made it difficult for Maddon's team to stay competitive.