Joe Maddon is the kind of baseball manager who posts quotes in the locker room from Albert Camus, will talk endlessly about his interest in fine wine and wears funky glasses that make him look like he’d fit in better at the Berkeley Art Museum than the winter meetings.
For all of those superficial reasons, Maddon stands out from the rather staid fraternity of former players and retread coaches who manage the vast majority of teams in the big leagues. He comes across as so different and so refreshing and so good, it’s easy to forget he was leading one of the best rosters in baseball the last three years.
“That kind of got me a little bit. I think Crawford more than anybody. He got drafted in ‘99, I got drafted in 2000 by the Rays — we’ve been in this organization for a long time together.
It’s definitely sad to see him go. As far as my opinion, he’s the best outfielder in the big leagues overall. And unfortunately he’s in the same division still as me. So I have to work on my pickoff move and try to be quicker to home plate.”—Shields on Crawford not being in the clubhouse.
“They lost some pieces. Some in the bullpen, some everyday players, a starter. But they are still a young, energetic ballclub. They have a solid rotation. They’re still a very, very tough team, and they’re going to create problems for all of us.”—Joe Girardi on the Rays.
“It was good; it was fun. He hasn’t been ‘the’ Manny — he still jokes a lot and he loves to have fun and he’s fun to be around, but he hasn’t been that guy I’ve seen in the past where he’s all joking around. I’ve seen the way he’s been working out, and his intensity and his intent, and I think he’s right where he needs to be. He looks great, and he’s driven. He doesn’t have any ‘proving’ to do, but maybe for the skeptics that are out there that he doesn’t have it anymore, I think he’s determined to prove them wrong.”—Longoria, on Manny and working out with him in Arizona.