Joe Maddon opted out of his contract as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. In nine seasons and a 754-705 record, Maddon was the winningest manager in Rays history. In 2008, Maddon shocked the baseball world by leading the Rays to an AL pennant. The Rays would also make post-season appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
However, 2014 was a trying year for the Rays. After a horrible 24-42 start, the Rays went 29-13 to get within striking distance of .500 by the end of July. But then at the trade deadline, the Rays dealt Cy Young winner David Price to the Tigers and went 24-30 the rest of the way. The Rays finished in fourth place in the AL East, 19 games back for the Orioles.