Jon Heyman posted one of his 'Inside Baseball' pieces yesterday for Today's Knuckleball and it featured a small excerpt on Joe Maddon and how much he would have taken to return to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Joe Maddon left the Rays following the 2014 season, a year in which the team finished under .500 for the first time since taking the 'Devil' away from the team's name after the 2007 season. He was allowed to leave due to a clause in his contact that vested when Andrew Friedman left the club just a few days earlier.
It was thought that this was a way for Joe Maddon just to rework his contract, and a deal appeared in place, until either the Chicago Cubs swooped in enticed Maddon to manage their team, or Joe Maddon saw the opportunity to blaze a new trail now that the Rays had faded into a poor team again. Whatever the cause, we know the result.
The Cubs would give Maddon a five year deal and pay him $25 million over the term of the contract.
And now we know how much it would have taken for Maddon to stick with the Rays, and it was far less than what the Cubs offered, as Heyman writes that Maddon would have taken $14 million over four years ($3.5 million a season) to remain the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Since leaving the Rays, Maddon has now led the Cubs to the playoffs in both years he's managed, as they clinched the National League Central last night. The Cubs were eliminated in the National League Championship Series in 2015.
The Rays, meanwhile, remain a bad team. They hired true freshman manager Kevin Cash to take the reigns of the team and things haven't gone spectacularly. This was not the manager's fault, and suffice to say it may not have been Joe Maddon's either if he'd remained.
Still, knowing what we know now, there was a scenario in which the Rays could have retained Joe Maddon's services. Should the Rays have taken the offer when they had the chance?