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Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays complete three-year contract extension

Joe Maddon has a chance to become the longest-tenured bay-area professional coach.
Published Feb. 15, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG — Joe Maddon wanted to stay. The Rays didn't want to him to leave.

So after a few months of occasional talks, and a few weeks off for a European vacation, Maddon and the Rays agreed to a three-year contract extension that will be announced this morning at Tropicana Field.

Maddon's current deal was to expire at the end of this season. The new one — worth about $6 million over the three years — would keep Maddon in the Rays' dugout through 2015, and if he gets there he'd have 10 straight seasons on the job, something only 25 managers have accomplished in the modern (post-1900) era. He also would become the longest-serving coach of Tampa Bay's major sports franchises, surpassing John McKay's nine seasons with the Bucs.

Maddon, 58, took over the Rays in 2006 — his first full-time managing gig — and has led them to a 495-477 record, winning two American League manager of the year awards and making three trips to the playoffs in the past four years, something only the Phillies and Yankees have matched.

Maddon and team officials were waiting until today's 11 a.m. news conference to discuss the deal, but players contacted by the Tampa Bay Times were pleased.

"It is well deserved," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "He has changed our culture as an organization. I look forward to the next four years."

"I'm happy for Joe, he deserves it," centerfielder B.J. Upton said. "He's taken this team to places it's never been before and I don't expect that to change going forward now that he's locked up."

"Joe is a players' manager and I love playing for him," starter David Price said. "I'm happy he got an extension. My turn."

A Price deal may have to wait, but it made sense for the Rays and Maddon to get the extension done before Monday's opening of spring training, eliminating any potential distraction. Maddon and the Rays said throughout the offseason that they expected to work something out.

Maddon would likely attract considerable attention from other teams if he became a free agent. This past offseason, there was speculation linking him to openings with the Red Sox, Cardinals and Cubs. The new deal puts him about in the middle of the pack for major-league managers in average salary.

Maddon had spent 31 years with the Angels, and managed only 51 major-league games, when the Rays hired him in November 2005 (over John McLaren) to replace Lou Piniella. He was first hired on a two-year deal with two option years, then given a three-year extension in May 2009.

Only four current managers have been with their teams as long: Jim Leyland, Tigers (started in 2006); Charlie Manuel, Phillies (2005); Ron Gardenhire, Twins (2002); and Mike Scioscia, Angels (2000).

ROSTER ADDITIONS: The Rays have added two more outfielders to their spring training roster, signing Brad Coon and Jeff Salazar to minor-league deals.

Coon, 29, has spent seven years in the minors, splitting last season between the Dodgers' Double- and Triple-A teams. Salazar, 31, has played parts of four seasons in the majors, most recently with the 2009 Pirates, but split last season between the Tigers' and Rockies' Triple-A teams.

The Rays have 58 players coming to camp, which opens Monday in Port Charlotte.

The other non-roster invitees include: pitchers Bryan Augenstein, Marquis Fleming, Jhonny Nunez, Ricky Orta, Ryan Reid, Romulo Sanchez, Matt Torra; catchers Craig Albernaz, Nevin Ashley, Mark Thomas; infielders Tim Beckham, Hak-Ju Lee, Matt Mangini, Juan Miranda, Will Rhymes; outfielder Jesus Feliciano.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.

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