Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Cubs' Maddon: Finances derailed possible Rays dynasty

CLEVELAND — Former manager Joe Maddon said the Rays were good enough to have had a Yankees-like dynastic reign if the team hadn't been broken up for financial reasons.

Maddon, speaking Tuesday before managing the Cubs in Game 6 of the World Series, said the core of the Rays team that lost to Philadelphia in the 2008 Series was good enough to compete for several championships.

"We never got back to the Series. We got in the playoffs often," Maddon said. "But these young (Cubs) guys, or I think even younger, there is a better chance of keeping them together just based on finances.

"Whereas back down there we didn't have the same opportunity to keep that group together, which I've often lamented, that had you been able to keep that group together, what it would eventually look like.

"I thought it could have rivaled the Yankees' run with that kind of group that had come up in the mid '90s or late '90s."

The Yankees won four championships in five years and played for two others in the next three.

The Rays made the playoffs three more times in the five seasons after 2008 but didn't advance past the Division Series, eventually either trading or allowing to leave as free agents several key players, including pitchers Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir, David Price, Rafael Soriano and James Shields; and position players Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, Carlos Peña and B.J. Upton.

The Rays came up when Maddon was asked about the benefits of making a Series run going forward for a young team. He said there was "a great impact" overall, attributing the Rays' disappointing 2009 season to "a World Series hangover" based on the short offseason, also a product of spring training starting early due to the World Baseball Classic.

But after that, Maddon said, "the culture was created. We were over .500 again in 2009. In 2010 we were outstanding. So definitely it's about the cultural flip. It's about the stretching of the mind. It's about, we have the expectation on an annual basis to be here now. Once you've been able to do it, you really don't want to settle for anything less than that. You just don't.

"But you have to do it the first time to really understand it and feel what it's like."

MORE MADDON: Noting the abundance of negativity in society, Maddon said he wants to see Twitter split into positive and negative versions with no crossover allowed. … As for good omens before the game, Maddon said he held his late father's old cap from the 2002 Angels, who won the World Series.

DANGER ZONE: Indians manger Terry Francona said he welcomed coming to Midwestern-valued Cleveland after working in Philadelphia and Boston. "If I went to Beirut, it would be like the perfect place to go from Philly to Boston," he said. "I mean, there were a lot of times I thought my name was, 'You (stink)!' because that's all I ever heard."

MISCELLANY: First pitch for Game 7 was moved up to 8 sharp. ... SS Addison Russell hit the first Series slam since 2005 (Paul Konerko, White Sox) as the Cubs took an early 7-0 lead. He also became the fourth player to have six RBIs in a Series game, joining , Albert Pujols (2011), Hideki Matsui (2009) and Bobby Richardson (1960). ... Indians 2B Jason Kipnis homered as part of a 3-for-4 night. ... Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta struck out nine working just 5 2/3 innings. ... Cubs 3B Kris Bryant was the 12th player 24 or young to have a four-hit Series game. ... The Indians brought in Eddie Robinson, 96, the last living member of their 1948 championship team. … First-pitch temperature was an unseasonably warm 71 degrees.

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