DALLAS — Speaking at the baseball winter meetings at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, Rays manager Joe Maddon expressed his surprise regarding the lack of interest in Tampa Bay’s bench coach Dave Martinez in regard to open managerial positions.
“I guess I was [surprised],” Maddon said. “I was, based on his conversations, or conversations that I had with different people. I thought maybe that he would have been at least given more interviews. Whether or not you’re going to accept him, I would have thought he would have. So yes, I was surprised.”
Some of the other topics touched on by Maddon were …
(The Red Sox’ loss of Jonathan Papelbon) “Well, I mean, he’s good. He was real good last year. I don’t know what they’re going to go with their bullpen without him. I don’t know how they’re going to set it up. But he’s very forceful, and that’s the kind of a force that’s difficult to lose and rebuild from. It’s not only about him, it’s what he does to everybody around him. When you’re able to nail down that ninth and even part of the eighth with him, it makes everybody stronger around him and makes Bard a better pitcher, etcetera. I’ve read where they might even be starting Bard. I don’t know if that’s true. It’s something when you take somebody that good out of your bullpen, there’s no question. But they’ve got tremendous resources and they’re very creative, so I don’t doubt that there’s something that they’re having in the mix right now that’s going to be pretty darned good, too. But Papelbon is one of the better ones out there. I am not sorry to see him become a National Leaguer.”
(On the presence of new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine in the American League East) “Bobby Valentine, I’m really happy for him. Gotten to be friends with him over the last couple of years as he’s been a broadcaster, and we’ve been fortunate to be in the playoffs, have had some really good conversations with Bobby so I don’t know him that well outside of that. I think it’s very interesting, I think it makes our division even more interesting as you suggested. I’m not going to say better because I’m not going to denigrate Tito. I thought Tito did a great job while he was there, and I was a lot of respect for him, a ton of respect for him. It’s just a different scenario there now. It’s a different form of competition. But Bobby definitely is going to add to the interest level in our division. And in baseball in general, I he’s a wonderful man. I love his enthusiasm for the day, not just baseball.”
(On his the status of his contract, which expires after the 2012 season) “I’ve got another year going right now. I’ve got another year left, and we’ve been briefly talking a little bit, but I’m really not concerned about that. I’m sure it’s all going to be worked out in due time.”
“We’ve been talking about, but it’s just basic stuff. I’m a Ray and I have a lot of faith in being a Ray as I continue along. This is the best place to work in Major League Baseball. Of course everybody is looking for security. We all want security. But for me it’s just about having an open conversation. We never would associate anything in public anything like that. It’s just about an ongoing conversation right now. We’ll see how it plays out. But I’m not worried about it.”