Joe MaddonJoe Maddon might have just made his first step toward Hollywood.

Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and will leave the team immediately, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Friday, citing sources. The Hazleton, Pa., native has been the Rays’ manager for the last 11 seasons.

Maddon’s departure feeds speculation that he will join the Los Angeles Dodgers, who hired former Rays general manager Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations Oct. 14. Maddon initially shot down rumors he would follow his boss to L.A.

“I’m a Ray, I’ve said it all along, I want to continue to be one,” Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times at the time. “I still believe … it’s the best place in all of baseball to work, but I also stand by the fact that ballpark needs to be improved.”

Maddon is highly familiar with the L.A. area, having served in the Angels organization in various capacities for 31 years before joining the Rays in 2005.

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