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Phillies should pursue Joe Maddon
by Scott Butler 10/14/14

One of the best managers in baseball just became available. Joe Madden surprised many by opting out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. Could the Phillies be in on the Joe Maddon sweepstakes?

Todd Zolecki asked Ruben Amaro yesterday:

“We have a manager,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon. “Ryne Sandberg is our manager.”

So no plans to speak to him?

“Like I said, we have a manager,” Amaro said.

In the language of general managers, Amaro is not fully committed to Ryno.

Even in what Pat Gillick already described as a rebuilding couple of seasons, the Phillies should look long and hard at Joe Maddon.

Ryne Sandberg is signed through the 2016 season and Maddon is reportedly looking for five-year deal in the $25 million range, but the Phillies would be foolish not to at least consider the possibility.

Maddon has experience transitioning a last place franchise into a perennial contender. The Devil Rays averaged 98 losses in Maddon's first two seasons, but in the seven seasons since, they averaged nearly 90 wins, won two AL East titles, and captured the AL pennant in 2008. All of the above coming with one of the lowest team salaries every season in arguably the worst ballpark in the game.

Maddon should create interest from many teams, which is problematic for a Phillies team unlikely to contend for at least the next two or three seasons. The Dodgers, Cubs, and Braves are three organizations who immediately come to mind as better fits than Philadelphia, although the Dodgers seem content with Don Mattingly.

If the Phillies consider Maddon to be a good choice for the organization, they must not let Ryne Sandberg stand in their way. It is too early to give a true assessment of Sandberg, but he did not overwhelm in his first full season as the Phillies' skipper. He had issues with communication, extending his starters too far, and bullpen management. His focus on fundamentals and discipline was refreshing, but he has plenty of areas of improvement and has not shown enough to block a proven winner in Joe Maddon.

It would be nice to see the Phillies target Maddon. He would be a nice fit in Philadelphia and he grew up in the area (although he was a Cardinals fan), but don't hold your breath on this one.

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