I was just reading the latest turn in the Bucs’ coaching search in the morning paper. Now, Chip Kelly is out (almost assuredly because the Glazers wouldn’t pony up the cash) and Buccaneer fans turn their lonely eyes back to…Mike Sherman? Really?
I have been a Bucs fan for a long time, and I will continue to be a Bucs fan even if they hire Mike Sherman, but the cold reality of the Bucs’ situation has to resonate in the club offices at Tropicana Field. We have to get Maddon’s extension done. Right away.
Go meet him in Europe and hash it out in some outdoor cafe in Paris or over wine in Rome. Meet him on the tarmac at TIA with an adoring crowd and a prepared contract. Send his wife flowers. Do anything. Just get him locked down.
The Rays cannot face the prospect of baseball’s Mike Sherman.
Why is it so important? There are a few reasons. First, Maddon is the perfect Manager for the Rays’ mix-and-match philosophy. His willingness to try new things gives Andrew Friedman the flexibility to cut payroll in unique ways. Second, Maddon is the perfect manager for a young roster and, given the salary structure in MLB, the Rays figure to have a young roster for the forseeable future.
Most important, however, is the fact that Maddon IS the Rays. I was talking to an old friend the other day who summed the issue up perfectly. Sure the Rays have a lot of talented players, and even a few super stars. But, Joe Maddon is the Rays’ icon. Can you argue that point? I can’t. Let’s cement the relationship. Let’s make Joe Maddon the Vince Lombardi of Tampa Bay. Through thick and thin. Through domes and new ballparks. ‘Til death do us part.
The good news is, I think everyone in the deal understands the stakes. Maddon knows he could manage elsewhere but, that there are not a lot of other places that would allow him to manage the way he likes to manage. And the Rays know all of the above. But, the Rays are running a business, and I respect their right to avoid spending money they don’t have to spend. I also respect Joe’s right to avoid leaving money on the table.
So, we’ll have to endure this dance. I just hope the song ends before spring training because I really don’t want to dance with Mike Sherman twice in the same year (well, I guess three times since Sherman has been considered by the Bucs twice now).