Maddon rewarded with two more years
Team picks up option, locks up skipper through 2009
ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Maddon will remain the manager of the Devil Rays.
The Rays announced on Saturday that they had picked up the two-year option on Maddon's contract, extending it through the 2009 season.
"I know it's a two-year extension, but I want to be here for years to come," Maddon said. "I really see this as being one of the prime places to be in Major League Baseball over the next decade. And I want to be part of it. ... To me as a baseball person, there's no better place to be than with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and it's just going to keep on getting better. "
The Rays had until Sept. 30 to make the change.
"The nuances of the contract, we had an option date that was early in the month, and we had agreed to announce it at the end of the month," said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations. "But collectively, we decided to accelerate that, just with conversations with players. With the season winding down I think it was important for all of them to understand and to know that Joe is going to be their manager.
"For us it really wasn't a difficult decision. The last two years have been very important in terms of building a foundation. And we feel like Joe's been an integral part of that. And now that we believe that foundation is in place, we believe that it is all of our jobs to continue to build a team that cannot only compete, but can win the American League East. And we feel like Joe's the right person for the job."
Maddon's initial two-year deal paid him approximately $1.1 million. The Rays did not disclose the amount of the extension.
Prior to joining the Rays on Nov. 15, 2005, Maddon spent 31 years in the Angels' organization, including the last 12 on the Major League staff. Maddon had an extensive background in player development and he served as the Angels bench coach for nearly 10 seasons, including the last six under manager Mike Scioscia while the team reached the playoffs in three of his last four seasons, winning the 2002 World Series.
Maddon, 53, has a 119-184 (.393) record as Rays manager, but much of his work has been more concerned with getting the team in position to win by developing the right players, than actual wins and losses to this point.
Nobody questioned whether Maddon would be an excellent leader while the Rays tried to develop their young players, but now that the team seems closer to turning the corner to where winning is the main focus the question was out there whether Maddon was the right guy to be pulling the strings.
"Now after seeing him for two years and appreciating what he's about, we're extremely confident that he's the right person to get us to that point," Friedman said. "... Obviously the won-loss record the last couple of years has been disappointing for everybody involved. But we said from the beginning, we look forward to the point when that could be the focus. But we were not there yet as an organization to where that could be the chief focus like we all want it to be. We feel like while the win-loss record won't be far different than it has been in years past, the team is dramatically different. If you look under the hood of this team and compare it to other teams in the past, there's infinitely more potential and it's more upon us than it's ever been."
Carl Crawford, the team's signature player, was asked about Maddon's extension.
"I'm happy for Joe having his option picked up," Crawford said. "We get to stay on course -- what we've been doing. Last year we kind of sorted out some things. And this year we took another step to get better. So hopefully it will keep getting better every year."
Crawford, though frustrated at times with the direction of the organization, looks forward to the future and the prospect of having more emphasis on winning games than developing players.
"I think that's what they want to do, try to win more games next year," Crawford said. "From what I understand, developing players to get to where we can try to win more games starting next year. Hopefully, we'll be better than we were this year."
Maddon feels he has grown while at the helm.
"The one thing for me personally is the consistency part of it," Maddon said. "Everybody uses the word discipline and I don't think most people know what they mean when they use the word discipline. To me discipline means being consistent. ... I think I've remained pretty consistent and I think that's important for this group. ... For me, if I can remain consistent and we keep the work ethic as it is and we continue to give these people experience with their athletic abilities and they become more efficient as Major League Baseball players, good things are going to happen."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.