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Potential roster turnover doesn't faze Maddon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Turnover is a part of any Major League team. Rays manager Joe Maddon might be more familiar than other managers with the concept of having to bid farewell to familiar faces to make way for new faces in the spring.

The good-natured skipper talked about dealing with the way Tampa Bay operates when he addressed the media during the first day of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

"You know, that's just who we are," Maddon said. "I'm very used to that. It doesn't bother me at all."

Maddon noted that he constantly has conversations with executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman about what might happen in the offseason.

"Honestly, it doesn't bother me," Maddon said. "It bothers me to lose people, I mean, personality-wise, friendship-wise, good players, guys that fit in well, obviously, that's never good. But knowing the way we have to operate upped the circumstances we operate and who we are, it's just the way this thing happens. ... I don't get all worked up about that."

Maddon noted that he liked the pieces the Rays have, regardless of who they lose.

"It's a great group," Maddon said. "It's a great core group, and it's a group that's won a lot of games over the last several years -- 90-plus wins the last three years in a row. Four out of five, I think we are also at 90-plus."

Every rumor at the Winter Meetings involving Tampa Bay deals with the Rays trading starting pitching. Maddon covets the group of starters his club has, but said he's "come to grips" that it may happen this year.

"Do I want it to happen? Not necessarily," Maddon said. "You saw what happened last year. The only reason we won 90 games last season is because our pitching was so dominant and good. For us to be 90-plus on an annual basis, we have to pitch that way.

"You're not going to be able to outhit mistakes. You're not going to be able to outhit the other team nightly. We're just not. We're not going to spend that dough to be that group anyway."

Maddon went on to state his opinion that pitching is going to continue to dominate baseball, which has been the growing trend of the game.

"So having said that, I'd much prefer on a nightly basis to go into the game thinking we might be a little bit behind on the offensive side, but we're ahead on the pitching side," Maddon said. "That, to me, is much more attractive. It's just a better way to go into the game, and you feel like you can win.

"And I know you lose that 1-0 game or that 2-1 game, start bemoaning the fact you've got to figure it out. ... If nightly we have to do that, I understand that. But to me, to be as pitching rich as you possibly can is a good way to go."

Maddon has an idea about what the Rays will look like even if they aren't a completed work just yet. And he will have to manage that squad to a better record than the records of the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Orioles in a year that the American League East appears up for grabs.

"I think it is about as wide open as it's been," Maddon said. "... All five teams, heads up. It's going to be kind of tight, and it's going to be very tight. Respectfully, I think, every team is going to have an opportunity to get to the playoffs next year in our division. ... I think that's good. I enjoy that. I love that, actually. I talked about this before. I love the competitive nature of our division. I think that brings out the best in us. We really do believe that. So it's going to be fun, man. It's going to be fun."

Tampa Bay Rays