Joe Maddon stepped down from his post as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays last week. What will it mean for the Colorado Rockies and the rest of the NL West if Maddon is hired to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Joe Maddon says he won’t be the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even with his old buddy Andrew Friedman in Los Angeles, and even with Maddon’s suspicious timing in resigning from his position with the Rays after Friedman left, all parties insist that Joe Maddon will not supplant Don Mattingly as the manager of the Dodgers.
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I don’t believe any of them. I believe Joe Maddon will be the manager of the Dodgers by Opening Day of 2015, no matter what rumors tie him to the Chicago Cubs or any other high-profile team.
This is just a hunch. I have no sources and I am not reporting anything. But I believe this is going to happen, and so I would like to explore the implications of it.
If Joe Maddon becomes the manager of the Dodgers, what does that mean for the Colorado Rockies?
It would mean that the managers in the National League West would be the following five men (teams listed in the order they finished in 2014):
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Joe Maddon
- San Francisco Giants: Bruce Bochy
- San Diego Padres: Bud Black
- Colorado Rockies: Walt Weiss
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Chip Hale
We don’t know what the Diamondbacks are going to get from Hale, but we do know that they will have to ask themselves the same question that the Rockies are pondering: how big is the difference between their manager and the managers in the rest of the division?
Walt Weiss is still learning how to manage. Each year, the Rockies’ front office talks about the way that Weiss is “growing into the role.” He has been learning on the job, and he continues to do so as we look ahead to his third season. Contrast that with Maddon, Bochy, and Black, three managers who have mastered the basics of the job and are able to focus on refining the nuances of their craft.
To have that relatively inexperienced manager going against the likes of Maddon, Bochy, and Black in an unbalanced NL West schedule is like having a bogey golfer playing a round with Rory McIlroy. Both guys are technically playing the same sport, but really they are playing entirely different games.
Those other managers are trying to decide whether or not to play a draw or a fade; Walt Weiss is just trying not to shank his ball into the woods.
Maybe the Dodgers aren’t lying. Maybe Don Mattingly will still be their manager next season. But if the Dodgers change their stance and hire Maddon, it is going to be the latest addition to the list of problems for the Rockies.
Weiss is already outmatched by his competition in the NL West. If you add a Maddon-for-Mattingly swap for the Dodgers to the picture, it represents a real problem for the Rockies in 2015 and the seasons beyond.