So: this is big and intriguing news! Joe Maddon, the Rays' manager since 2006, is quitting effective immediately. That's per Buster Olney, and later confirmed by the Rays.

Maddon, who's been very successful with a series of low-payroll teams, and is respected by just about everyone in baseball, should have his pick of jobs both on the bench and in the front office. But much depends on what opens up and if Maddon is willing to wait a year.

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Even before today there was speculation that he could follow former Rays GM Andrew Friedman to the Dodgers. (Jon Heyman reports that the opt-out clause in Maddon's contract was triggered specifically by Friedman's departure.) But in an attempt to squash that speculation, Friedman said last week that Don Mattingly would "definitely" be his manager next season.