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Links: Joe Maddon opts out of contract

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Some links from around the game:

-P- Joe Maddon has opted out of his contract with the Rays, just weeks after the franchise lost Andrew Friedman to the Dodgers. Maddon is, of course, an excellent manager, but managers are probably more replaceable than most fans imagine, and that's probably more true now than it was five years ago. Then, managers like Maddon and Clint Hurdle who embrace sabermetrics were pretty rare. Now their success isn't exactly a secret, and my guess is that if you want to find a manager who leads effectively while incorporating sabermetric strategies, you should be able to do that. The Rays are a smart organization, and they'll find another smart manager.

The problem, as Jayson Stark points out, is that the departures of Friedman, Maddon and David Price in quick succession make the Rays look like a small-time operation rather than the serious big-league franchise that they are, or would be if they had fans. Anyway, Maddon could wind up with the Dodgers or Cubs. Becoming the manager of the Cubs right now would be a great career move.

-P- Travis Sawchik writes about the decisions the Pirates will have to make with arbitration-eligible players this offseason.

-P- Jeff Sullivan examines all the homers Giants reliever and former Pirates prospect Hunter Strickland has given up this postseason.

-P- The Phillies have extended Grady Sizemore for 2015 after doing the same with Jerome Williams because ... well, I don't know why. Both moves are cheap enough that you look like a jerk for complaining, and yet, if I were a fan of a team in the Phillies' position, these sorts of uninspired signings would annoy me to a disproportionate degree.