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Joe Maddon impressed with Rays' managerial candidates

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 03:  The Chicago Cubs new manager Joe Maddon answers questions during a press conference at Wrigley Field on November 3, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) 521738347
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 03: The Chicago Cubs new manager Joe Maddon answers questions during a press conference at Wrigley Field on November 3, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) 521738347
Published Nov. 15, 2014

The former manager of the Rays is just as curious as the rest of us to see whom the next manager of the Rays will be.

Joe Maddon has been impressed by the 10-man field of candidates the Rays came up with to replace him.

"They've created a wonderful list, they really have," Maddon said. "They've given themselves an opportunity to interview some really qualified people and make a typically very good Rays decision at the end of the day. I really believe that. You know it's going to be well thought out, and they're going to select a solid candidate to lead."

Maddon knows most of the candidates — current Rays bench coach Dave Martinez most intimately from seven years together, Giants bench coach Ron Wotus and former Mariners manager/current Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu the longest ("for like 100 years"), Brewers special assistant Craig Counsell and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin the least.

All have their virtues, Maddon said, though "of course I'm biased to Davey. Of course."

With the group of players the Rays have, Maddon — who opted out of his Rays contract and signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Cubs — said the biggest thing for the new manager will be building relationships and establishing trust.

"The players intact, they get it," Maddon said. "They all get it. You don't have to go in there and teach them how to win. They know how to win. They know how to go about their day. They know how to act. They know how to lead. It's a wonderful group of players."

ROSTERIZATION: Even after dealing Ps Jeremy Hellickson and Cesar Ramos, several more trades and/or other moves are coming by Thursday as the Rays have to create a few more spots on the 40-man roster (currently at 38) to add five-six prospects so they're protected from the Rule 5 draft, with C Justin O'Conner, OF Mikie Mahtook, INF Ryan Brett and Ps Matt Andriese and Adam Liberatore among the most promising.

INF Sean Rodriguez appears a trade candidate, and moving C Jose Molina, or swallowing the $2.75 million he's owed, would seem likely, as is dealing from relief depth, perhaps starting with RHP Brandon Gomes, who is out of options. Another avenue is to drop rostered minor-leaguers such as LHP Mike Montgomery, or maybe INF Tim Beckham.

RAYS RUMBLINGS: There is no set time frame for resolution of MLB's tampering investigation of the Cubs over the Maddon hiring, which the Rays requested and are adamant about. If any is found, there could be discipline and/or compensation in terms of money, draft pick or players. … Text from a third-party scout who saw SS Andrew Velazquez, acquired from Arizona in the RHP Jeremy Hellickson trade, playing in Puerto Rico: "Best prospect there, by far. … Super impressive … He'll move to 2B … Top of order … Fearless … Advanced." … Worth noting with the Rays looking to upgrade offense: continuing chatter that the Phillies will eat much of the money to move 1B Ryan Howard, and former Rays/now Dodgers chief Andrew Friedman acknowledging they'll trade an outfielder, also likely to be at a discount. … The 2015 spring, which opens Feb. 21, will be the first in Rays history with no night games. … RHP Jake Odorizzi received one third-place vote in the AL rookie of the year balloting; LHP David Price, a Ray until July 31, finished sixth in the Cy Young race. … Ex-Ray/ESPN guy Chris Singleton tweeted he was baffled ex-Ray Eduardo Perez didn't get a managerial interview.

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Contact Marc Topkin at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.