Joe Maddon Explains Why He Left Rays: ‘I Hope They Don’t Feel Betrayed’

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Joe MaddonJoe Maddon is an opportunist.

Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract over the weekend, meaning he will not manage the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015. According to Maddon, the opportunity to become a managerial free agent was one he couldn’t pass up, though he’s leaving the Rays on amicable terms.

“I just hope they will understand that this was a unique opportunity for me and my family, and beyond that, the charities that I’m attached to,” Maddon told MLB.com’s Bill Chastain. “There was nothing else that I was looking for before that. Up until (general manager) Andrew (Friedman) left, I did not have this kind of opportunity whatsoever. And then once Andrew left and this opportunity opened up, I had to consider it.”

Maddon’s opt-out clause kicked in when Friedman resigned from his position as the Rays’ GM to become the Los Angeles Dodgers’ president of baseball operations. Maddon said immediately after Friedman left the organization that he planned to stay with the Rays, but things obviously changed once president of baseball operations Matt Silverman informed the skipper of the clause in his contract.

“And I really ask anybody if they really looked at it, if they will put themselves in my shoes, what would they have done? So it’s not an easy decision, a very difficult decision,” Maddon told Chastain. “Talk about agonizing, that pain-in-the-gut type of stuff, absolutely. But at the end of the day, I thought it was the right thing for me and my family.”

Silverman told reporters he was surprised and disappointed by Maddon’s departure. The Rays reached new heights during Maddon’s nine-year tenure, which began in 2006, and now face a potentially difficult transition period. Maddon, who was entering the final year of his contract with Tampa Bay, insists everything is peachy between the sides, though. They simply couldn’t come to terms on an extension.

“I know that Matthew reached out and they came up with an offer,” Maddon said. “It did not meet up to what I (wanted) and we came to an impasse. And that happens. There’s no friction between me and (Silverman) or me and (principal owner) Stu (Sternberg). I had great conversations with Matthew and Stu, they were very candid and open. I felt good about it moving forward. I hope they don’t feel betrayed, because I don’t feel betrayed by the offer.”

Maddon owns a home in Tampa Bay, and he plans to remain a big part of the community despite no longer serving as the Rays’ manager. He also didn’t rule out sitting out a year if a good opportunity fails to present itself this offseason.

Photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

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