Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Dodgers' Roberts tops ex-Ray Maddon for NL manager of the year

Joe Maddon led the Cubs past the Dodgers to get to the World Series, where they won their first championship in 108 seasons.

But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts beat out Maddon for the NL manager of the year award.

The former Rays manager finished second in voting done before the start of the playoffs, keeping him from winning a fourth award — two in Tampa Bay, two in Chicago — which would have tied Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa for most since it was first given in 1983.

Cleveland's Terry Francona won the AL award, finishing ahead of Texas' Jeff Banister and Baltimore's Buck Showalter.

Roberts, hired by former Rays boss Andrew Friedman, dealt with a slew of injuries, including 28 players on the DL, and roster moves in his first season on the job. He got 16 of the 30 first-place votes to finish with 108 points; Maddon got eight first-place votes and 70 points. Washington's Dusty Baker was third. "I'm completely humbled," Roberts said. "Speechless. I really am."

Maddon did his MLB Network interview from the back yard of his Tampa home, showing off his lighted Derby Lane sign and sharing the story of how he has it in honor of Don Zimmer, his former adviser with the Rays who died in 2014.

"Extraordinary human being, and probably the best strategist I've ever been associated with," Maddon said.

Rays part with Wilson

The Rays' catching plans for 2017 are not set but don't include Bobby Wilson, the Seminole High product who was dropped from the roster and Tuesday elected free agency in hopes of finding a big-league deal elsewhere.

Wilson, 33, finished last season with the Rays, starting 28 of their final 54 games after being claimed on waivers, and hoped to stay with his hometown team.

"I'm a little disappointed in the way it worked out," he said.

Wilson went unclaimed on outright waivers and declined the assignment to Triple A. He also played last season with the Tigers and Rangers, who may have interest in bringing him back, and previously with the Angels and Diamondbacks. He also said "the door is not closed" on a return to the Rays.

The Rays need to clear space on the 40-man roster in advance of Friday's deadline to add prospects to keep them from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. They still have three catchers on the roster in Curt Casali, Luke Maile and prospect Justin O'Conner, and 36 players total.

Finding a front-line catcher is an offseason priority, though nothing is considered imminent. Among free agent options, former Astros starter Jason Castro could be an interesting fit, given his left-handed bat (which would pair with Casali or Maile) and highly rated pitch-framing skills.

Rays senior vice president Chaim Bloom said the pending roster deadline "accelerated" the decision on Wilson.

"We think the world of who Bobby is and the leadership he provides, and that was a tough decision," Bloom said. "The catchers we did retain have roster flexibility (in terms of having options to be sent to the minors) that is more useful to us right now. That's a position we will continue to look to improve as we go through the offseason."

Also:

• The U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic, which includes Rays starter Chris Archer, will play March 10-11-12 in Miami, per the schedule released Tuesday. Ticket info on worldbaseballclassic.com.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.

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