With Maddon available, Amaro backs Sandberg

With Maddon available, Amaro backs Sandberg

PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Maddon is regarded as one of the best managers in baseball, and he unexpectedly became a free agent Friday, when he opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Could the Phillies be interested in Maddon?

"We have a manager," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Friday afternoon. "Ryne Sandberg is our manager."

So no plans to speak to Maddon?

"Like I said, we have a manager," Amaro said.

Maddon already has said he wants to manage next season. He told FOXSports.com and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal that, "I have interest everywhere right now. I've got to hear what everyone has to say."

Sandberg is signed through 2016. The Phillies finished 73-89 and last in the National League East in his first full season after replacing Charlie Manuel in August 2013. Sandberg did not have a loaded roster to work with, but he also had his struggles. A lack of communication with players was a problem at times and, like most managers, his in-game decisions were criticized. But interim president Pat Gillick and Amaro have supported him.

"It was a very good learning experience for him," Amaro said about Sandberg earlier this month. "First-time manager on a team that's an aging team that has an expectation of winning, and with some of the bumps and bruises we had over the course of the year, I think Ryno is the man for the job. I also think Ryno is going through a similar learning process that is associated with being a first-year manager. And so I believe in him. I know that he is dedicated and focused on putting the Phillies where they need to be, and I feel very good about his instincts and ability to get us to where we need to go."

Maddon's agent is expected to talk to numerous teams with managers already under contract. Some manager somewhere could suddenly find himself out of a job.

"For me, it's not my responsibility to think for other organizations," Maddon told Rosenthal. "I'm controlling what I can. … At the end of the day, I would never ask or tell an organization what to do. That's not my business."

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