Maddon stresses he wants to remain Rays manager

Amid changes at top, manager downplays speculation of a move

Maddon stresses he wants to remain Rays manager

ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Maddon got the news of Andrew Friedman's move to the Dodgers Tuesday afternoon while southbound in his motorhome driving along the east coast of the United States.

The Rays manager, who planned to stop for the night at Emporia, Va. en route to Tampa, noted how happy he was for Friedman. He also stressed that he wanted to remain as manager of the Rays since Friedman's departure is certain to bring conjecture about his status and the possibility he might become the Dodgers manager. His latest contract expires after the 2015 season, and he has a home in the Los Angeles area. Maddon wanted to nip that speculation in the bud.

"I'm a Ray and I'm going to be with the Rays and I'm hoping to be with them for a long time," Maddon said. "There's nothing honestly to talk about. I have not been approached. I'm not going to anticipate being approached. I have another year of my contract. I'm sure that we're going to talk a little bit more. But this is not about me, this is about Andrew."

Maddon referred to Friedman's departure as somewhat of a "graduation."

"And I think there's going to be a lot of energy that's going to be derived from it, meaning that a lot of the guys who have been in waiting are now getting their opportunities," Maddon said. "And that they are ready, they've been hustling while they've been waiting. They're ready for this. So I think the guys who have been given different positions will infuse a lot of energy into the situation also."

Maddon allowed that Friedman will be missed, but he believes there will be a seamless transition, in part, because team president Matt Silverman is the person who will be assuming Friedman's duties.

"Anything Andrew did, Matt was included in it," Maddon said. "Of course you're going to miss Andrew. He's got great leadership qualities and in an administrative sense, he's outstanding. And it's hard to replace that, but we have some bright guys left behind who are ready for this challenge."

Maddon said the quality job Friedman did included delegating. Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander are among the more prominent to whom Friedman delegated. Both are directors of baseball operations. They will likely assume greater responsibilities under Silverman, as he transitions to his new post.

"I thought the way Andrew groomed Chaim and Erik and the other guys in the front office, I thought he did a great job with that," Maddon said. "And with that, now the fact that he's not going to be there, I know these guys are going to be comfortable in their roles.

"I know that the guys downstairs, the coaching staff, me, and everybody else will feel comfortable because we know these guys and we worked with these guys. And they know us. So that's what I'm talking about. There's a lot more going on than people realize. And Andrew set it up that way, and he did a great job of it."

Maddon also credited principal owner Stuart Sternberg for being a major factor for cushioning the blow of losing Friedman. Under Sternberg, Maddon, Friedman and Silverman all assumed their positions with the organization prior to the '06 season.

"Stu did a wonderful job," Maddon said. "I think a big talent of Stu's also, is that he hires good people and gives them some direction and gets out of the way. He does a great job with that. He's always there for you and he provides great direction and leadership. So, he did a great job with that and then all the infrastructure with people. Really bright people. Great interpersonal skills.

"We get along so well. Open conversation. There's none of that petty stuff within our front office. That's the beauty of it. Everybody wants success for the entire organization and people individually. So it's really well done."

While Maddon insisted the Rays would march on, he praised his longtime friend, Friedman.

"I'm still trying to process everything," Maddon said. "Today is more about Andrew and the great times together. How we started this. We actually got to the World Series together. We wanted to win it, but it didn't happen. But we did get there.

"We've been to the playoffs several times. And we went from the Devil Rays to the Rays. Talking about a partnership, this is really just closely done between he and I, and everybody else of course."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.