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2 clients, 1 agent, no hint on Rays manager
By MARC TOPKIN
Published November 13, 2005
ST. PETERSBURG - Devil Rays officials continued deliberations and discussions Saturday but did not reach a final decision on hiring a manager.
The Rays have been talking internally for days about whether to hire Angels bench coach Joe Maddon or promote incumbent bench coach John McLaren.
Those talks went as far as agent Alan Nero on Saturday, though that was not particularly telling since Nero represents both Maddon and McLaren and he declined to say which client they talked to him about.
Rays officials are hoping to finalize a deal today or Monday and hold a news conference Tuesday.
"We expect to tender an offer in the next day or so," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said late Saturday. Team president Matt Silverman and senior vice president of baseball operations Gerry Hunsicker also have been involved in the discussions.
Both Maddon and McLaren said Saturday they had not heard from the Rays since their second interviews last week during the GM meetings in Indian Wells, Calif. Nero, in Seattle with Japanese catcher Kenji Jojima, declined comment.
Maddon, whom ESPN's Peter Gammons recently ranked second on a list of top managerial prospects, offers a fresh perspective as the Rays continue to rebuild the organization.
McLaren, who has spent the past three seasons with the Rays, offers continuity and familiarity with the current players.
VALENTINE UPDATE: After guiding the Chiba Lotte Marines to their first Japan Series title in 31 years last month, Bobby Valentine has agreed to a three-year contract to remain with the team, the Japan Times reported.
"We have reached an agreement and it was confirmed when I met him this morning," Marines representative Ryuzo Setoyama told the paper, adding that the process will be completed after lawyers deal with the paperwork.
"Each side compromised to reach this point," said Setoyama, who declined to disclose terms.
The former Mets and Rangers manager has been mentioned as a candidate for a few openings in the majors - namely the Dodgers and the Devil Rays.
Contacted Friday night by the Los Angeles Times, Valentine said he had not signed the contract, which is worth about $4-million a year. It's unknown whether the deal contains an escape clause for him to return to the United States, but the Dodgers could not come close to matching his salary.
TOWN SIDES WITH VETERANS: Hagerstown, Md., war veterans were pleased a plan to rename Memorial Boulevard for baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who made his minor-league debut there 55 years ago, was defeated.
At a Veterans Day ceremony just down the street from Municipal Stadium on Friday, uniformed vets joined city officials in unveiling a granite monument to slain warriors. They also rededicated the street to veterans, repudiating former Mayor William M. Breichner's attempt last spring to rename it Willie Mays Way. Veterans' opposition to the plan became a racially charged issue that contributed to Breichner's defeat in May.
Rusty Baker, local AMVETS commander, drew cheers and applause for likening the dispute to wars in which U.S. veterans fought for what they thought was right.
"I believe this plaque proves that the city of Hagerstown does listen to the veterans," Baker said.
Speaking later to reporters, Baker said the dispute over Mays, one of the first black players in the majors, had been about honoring veterans, not race, as Breichner had maintained.
"It could have been Joe DiMaggio. It could have been Mark Spitz, the swimmer. It could have been anybody," he said. "They were taking away from the veterans - renaming it - and I did not like it. I did not like it at all."
Mays has written that he endured racial jeers when he played in Hagerstown and was forced to stay apart from his white teammates in a segregated hotel.
Breichner, a Democrat who served one four-year term, apologized to Mays and offered to name a street after him when the Hall of Famer returned to the city in 2004. The City Council rejected the plan amid opposition from veterans and also turned a cold shoulder to a follow-up proposal to name the Municipal Stadium field for Mays.
Breichner, a Navy veteran, didn't attend Friday's ceremony. He said later that he'd still like to see some permanent recognition of Mays' contribution to the city's history.
Information from other news organizations was used in the report.