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MLB.com wrote:ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Maddon is expected to be named the new manager of the Devil Rays Tuesday.
The job "is something I really want," said Maddon, 51, in a Friday interview, noting he was a good fit for the position given the skills he has which he feels are compatible with the Rays' needs.
Maddon, who was the Angels bench coach from 1996 to 2005, is a former Minor League catcher who has been in the Angels organization for 28 years. He has been a Major League coach for the past 12 seasons and was a serious candidate for the Red Sox job before Terry Francona was hired in 2003. Among Maddon's strong suits are his organizational skills and acumen crunching baseball data via the computer.
Maddon liked the idea of managing a young, developing team and working for new principal owner Stuart Sternberg and the club's unique management team.
Before his first interview, Maddon said he received a 47-page email expounding on Sternberg's philosophies for turning around the Rays' situation and came away quite impressed.
Maddon demonstrated extensive knowledge about the Rays heading into the interview process. Off the top of his head, he recited how the Rays had played better against teams from the American League West, held their own against the American League East -- noting the team had done well against the Yankees and lost some tough ones to the Red Sox -- and he summed up some of the team's strengths and weaknesses.
"Athletically [the Rays are] among the best in the American League," said Maddon, who called the team an "interesting group of talent."
He called the team a little "heavy" in the outfield and touted the skills of shortstop Julio Lugo and Jorge Cantu before noting that he felt Toby Hall could be a front-line catcher. He said the team's pitching and defense needs to be "shored up."
Maddon believes strong teams have four pitchers in the bullpen that a team can turn over its fortunes to when leading or being tied in the latter innings of a game.
"You can sustain a winning streak that way," he said.
Looking at the Rays bullpen, Maddon said he felt they were "down two" in that department.
By selecting Maddon over Rays bench coach John McLaren, the Rays continue to distance the organization from the past. From inside the organization, the Rays interviewed McLaren and other Major League coaches Billy Hatcher and Tom Foley and Triple-A Durham manager Bill Evers.
Candidates interviewed from outside the organization included Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi, who accepted the Marlins' job; former Tigers manager Alan Trammell; Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton; and former Phillies third baseman and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
The Rays also had some interest in former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who is currently the skipper of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan. But Valentine never became a serious candidate.
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