Schlossberg's MLB Report: Will Maddon's Magic Move to LA? • Latino Sports


Schlossberg’s MLB Report: Will Maddon’s Magic Move to LA?


Although the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals remain embroiled in a Fall Classic almost as colorful as the colors of fall, the most biggest news of the week is the sudden resignation of Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon.

Wildly successful with a small-budget club, Maddon exercised his “out” clause after penny-pinching management refused his midseason request of a few thousand dollars more.

Now that he’s a free agent, his options are unlimited.

Joe Maddon won't be out of work long

Joe Maddon won’t be out of work long

Widely considered the most innovative and unorthodox managers in the game, Maddon is virtually certain to triple his Tampa Bay salary.

Only one team — the Minnesota Twins — had a managerial vacancy before Maddon made his move but that doesn’t mean others won’t court him anyway.

Consider the uber-wealthy Los Angeles Dodgers, where basketball legend Magic Johnson has teamed with long-time National League executive Stan Kasten to build a franchise that is a perennial contender.

Don Mattingly was a much better player than manager and his pitching-rich team proved a pushover for the inferior St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series.

In addition, the Dodgers have just lured Tampa Bay general manager Andrew Friedman west with a megabucks contract and the new title of Director of Baseball Operations. Ned Colletti, the GM last year, has been kicked upstairs, ostensibly as Kasten’s “special assistant.” Mattingly could suffer the same fate.

And what about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim? Mike Scioscia has been entrenched as manager for years but Maddon coached there before joining the Rays and could be lured back — especially since the underachieving Angels went 0-for-the-playoffs after leading the majors in both wins and runs scored.

The Angels insist Mike Scioscia's job is safe

The Angels insist Mike Scioscia’s job is safe

The Minnesota Twins, where Ron Gardenhire got the axe after 13 seasons, have interest in Maddon but not the dollars. The Chicago Cubs, on the other hand, are rebuilding with youth under Theo Epstein, the one-time boy wonder GM in Boston, and could prove attractive to Maddon — especially since he’d love to end the club’s 108-year-old streak of no world championships. Yes, anybody can have a bad century, Joe, but the Cubs are already working on their second.

Other clubs that could consider Maddon as manager include the Philadelphia Phillies, where Ryne Sandberg did not see eye-to-eye with all his charges, and the New York Mets, where the young pitchers not only grow on trees but seem ready to blossom. Terry Collins has one year left on his contract and a major factor in his favor: ownership has been hesitant to spend too heavily in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal.

After all the coaching and front office changes in Atlanta — including the three-year deal given John Hart to be President of Baseball Operations there — would Maddon be a possibility for the Braves? Fredi Gonzalez barely survived the team’s second-half plunge of 2014 but is a personal favorite of Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox, whose vote still carries a lot of sway with the front office.

Fredi Gonzalez got a vote of confidence from the Braves despite a difficult year

Fredi Gonzalez got a vote of confidence from the Braves despite a difficult year

Maddon could also bide his time and wait. A handful of managers are fired every season and he’d be at the top of the list for any opening — assuming his new team wants to pay the price.

The betting here is that Maddon will follow Friedman to Hollywood and try his luck in the National League for the first time. Sorry, Donny Baseball.

Elsewhere around the majors:

Shocked Sunday night to hear that 22-year-old Cardinals super-prospect Oscar Taveras, who homered against the Giants in the playoffs, was killed in a Dominican Republic car crash . . .

Gil Hodges, star first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers long before he became manager of the Washington Senators and New York Mets, tops the ballot of nominees from “Baseball’s Golden Era” (1947-62) that will be on the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee ballot to be released Oct. 30 . . .

Art Shamsky, whose play in the 1969 NL Championship Series helped Hodges reach a World Series his Mets eventually won, was a featured speaker, along with former Players Association director Donald Fehr, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and writers Larry Ruttman and Ira Berkow, at New York’s Temple Emanuel Sunday . . .

With speed and defense his calling cards, Juan Lagares bids for a Gold Glove

With speed and defense his calling cards, Juan Lagares bids for a Gold Glove

Carlos Beltran, now with the Yankees, and incumbent third baseman David Wright were the last Mets to win Gold Gloves for fielding excellence, in 2008, but centerfielder Juan Lagares could end that drought when voting results are announced next week . . .

After scoring the fewest runs in the majors, the San Diego Padres joined the chorus of teams clamoring for new hitting coaches after firing incumbent Phil Plantier . . .

Former Braves slugger Ron Gant told BRAVES BANTER radio this week that his favorite hitting coach (not counting tips he received from Hank Aaron) was Clarence Jones. It was Jones who suggested that the muscular Gant, a two-time 30/30 man, switch to a bigger bat . . .

Erstwhile Giants ace Tim Lincecum, who pitched his second no-hitter earlier this season, was precluded from pitching more than a couple of postseason innings because of recurring back problems . . .

CC Sabathia, still hoping his 34-year-old left arm has some stamina left, says he’s healthy and ready to contribute to the Yankees again after going 3-4 with a 5.28 earned run average in an injury-shortened season . . .

CC Sabathia says he's already in shape to pitch again

CC Sabathia says he’s already in shape to pitch again

Nobody has hit an inside-the-park home run in the World Series since 1929 . . .

San Francisco reached the World Series after surviving the losses of ace starter Matt Cain, held to two wins before succumbing to Tommy John surgery; centerfielder Angel Pagan, who missed 66 games before back surgery; and first baseman Brandon Belt, who had three separate stints on the disabled list that cost him 96 games . . .

Rookie San Francisco reliever Scott Strickland admitted that he was “embarrassed” after tossing a record-tying five gopherballs in just 5 1/3 innings of postseason play this year . . .

Travis Ishikawa, whose home run clinched the pennant for San Francisco, became the Giants’ regular leftfielder only in October — after starting just three games in that spot during the regular season.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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