With Joe Girardi now out of the picture, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays continue to look for a new manager. The next candidates to be interviewed will be former MLB manager Bobby Valentine and California coach Joe Maddon.
Because of MLB rules, no announcement will be made till after the World Series is over. Who ever the Devils hire faces an uphill path. I don't envy anyone who tries to manage in that clueless organization.
ST. PETERSBURG - Joe Girardi went to the Marlins on Wednesday and the Devil Rays went on with their search for a manager, receiving permission to talk to Angels bench coach Joe Maddon and acknowledging that an announcement won't be made until after the World Series.
Both teams had serious interest in Girardi, though the Marlins appeared to want him more, identifying the Yankees bench coach immediately as their frontrunner and pursuing him aggressively.
The Rays' talks with Girardi were more advanced than with their other candidates, including a discussion of contract parameters, but they are not believed to have made a formal offer and did not seem especially surprised, or particularly disappointed, that he went to the Marlins.
"We thought he was a candidate who might fit with our organization and that's why he was on our list. He made his decision and we'll continue our search," Rays president Matt Silverman said.
"We didn't have any frontrunners in mind when we got into this process. Joe was someone we knew we needed to speak to early in our first round because of the Marlins' interest. I wouldn't characterize him as a frontrunner."
The Marlins, who will introduce Girardi at a news conference today in Miami, felt more strongly.
"Joe was known as an intelligent player with great leadership skills and he will bring those traits to his new position," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. "He is the right man to lead our team and I'm proud that he will start what will be a long, successful managerial career here in south Florida."
The Rays received permission from the Angels to contact Maddon, who could emerge as a strong candidate, and are in the process of arranging an interview. Silverman said they also plan to talk with Bobby Valentine, but will wait until his Chiba Lotte team completes play in the Japan postseason. They have interviewed six others - internal candidates Bill Evers, Tom Foley, Billy Hatcher and John McLaren, former Tigers manager Alan Trammell and Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton.
Maddon, 51, a member of the Angels organization for 31 years, including 12 on the major-league coaching staff, has hoped for a chance to manage and is intrigued by the Rays' opportunity.
"Absolutely," he said. Valentine, former manager of the Rangers and Mets, has also expressed interest.
While the Rays were poised to make a quick decision on Girardi if necessary, they now sound like they will take their time. "Until we get to talk to Maddon and probably Valentine we're not going to make any decisions about the current group or bringing in any other candidates," Silverman said.
While the Rays may continue talks, teams are barred from making major announcements during the World Series. The Rays may also use that time to start formal interviews for a senior front office official, with White Sox farm director Dave Wilder joining former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker, former Angels GM Mike Port and Yankees executive Gene Michael as likely candidates.