Don Mattingly’s Moment of Truth

I'm not sure of the source of this photo to give proper credit other than this tweet, but good lord: You can feel the frost from here.

I’m not sure of the source of this photo to give proper credit other than this tweet, but good lord: You can feel the frost from here.

A lot of you don’t like Don Mattingly, and for good reason. The bunting. The batting orders. The bunting. The love of certain veteran bench players. The hideous everything that was NLCS, Game 1, though again, the outcome of that series was far more about Hanley Ramirez & Michael Wacha & Clayton Kershaw than anything else. Oh, and the bunting.

Still, I can’t help but take his side after today’s bizarre display at the season-ending press conference, during which — with Ned Colletti sitting right next to him! — he made it extremely clear that even though his 2014 option had vested, he wasn’t certain he’d be back, saying in so many words that he had no intention of returning without an extension, that he didn’t want to be “a lame duck”.

There’s also this jaw-dropping quote, via Tony Jackson:

“This has been a frustrating, tough year, honestly. … You come in basically as a lame-duck manager, and with the payroll and guys you have, you make it tough in the clubhouse, put me in a spot where you’re basically trying out, auditioning. Can you manage or not manage? To me, we’re three years in. We’re at the point where you know or you don’t.”

And you know what? Good for him, seriously. Whether he’s a flawed manager or not is beside the point. He’s been the manager for three seasons now, and in the organization for six. Good and bad, it’s pretty clear what he is at this point. It’s not like there’s a lot of mystery remaining. If you want him to be your manager, fine: Extend him. If you want to move on, also fine: Fire him. But I don’t see the value here in letting him swing in the wind, especially when (publicly, anyway) he seemed to be a good sport about not letting his expiring contract become a distraction.

For his part, he can look at an oddly wide-open managerial landscape and think that he has options. Usually, teams that are looking for new skippers are coming off poor seasons or bad situations, like we’ve seen with the Cubs & Mariners. But with Jim Leyland‘s retirement this morning, there’s three teams — the Tigers, Reds, & Nationals — with just a ton of talent who need new leaders. We know that the Nationals wanted to interview him several years ago, and it’s not hard to see them wanting to do so again. He can shop himself as someone who survived the McCourt disaster and untold amounts of injuries to lead the 2013 Dodgers to a historic 42-8 run and an NLDS victory.

Colletti promised that the situation “would be resolved soon,” and it really has to be, before this gets ugly. For my part, as I’ve been consistent in saying, any judgement in letting him go depends heavily on who would replace him. Tim Wallach? Fine, whatever. Manny Acta? Unlikely, but yay! Dusty Baker? Oh, holy lord no, for that would indeed be the darkest timeline.

My guess is that Mattingly does indeed return, but his entire coaching staff doesn’t, as he wants it to. I don’t think Rick Honeycutt or Mark McGwire or Davey Lopes are going anywhere, and Wallach stays unless he gets a top job of his own, but Trey Hillman… well, don’t get too comfortable.

633 comments
KenGriffeysSwollenJaw
KenGriffeysSwollenJaw

AJ Ellis, player/manager. Lineups announced to "Walk This Way" and Andre Eithier forbidden from coming to bat to pro-KC songs.

Quasimodo
Quasimodo

Mr. Mike Petriello, would you kindly run again that continuous feed of Kemp injuring his ankle? I think Dodgers medical staff missed it. Had they of seen it, it probably wouldn't of taken them so goddamn long to realize he was hurt. GEEZ!!!

Nineteen84
Nineteen84

If Dusty Baker somehow ended up the manager, I'd almost want Kershaw to go elsewhere just so I don't have to see Dusty run his arm into the ground. Almost.

JazzaKW
JazzaKW

Brad Ausmus. Fresh manager with years of experiencing the game behind the dish. Always well liked, and has an understanding of modern statistics. Brad Ausmus for 2014 and beyond. 

wcb3021
wcb3021

You know I never took Mattingly's contract into consideration in evaluating his baseball logic aka managerial skills.I was embarrassed when he sent Uribe up to bunt against Atlanta.I truly believe it was an act of God that he hit the next pitch out of the park..

Speaking of Uribe it brings me to a home game against Tampa Bay Rays in August when he was on 3rd base talking with 3rd base coach Wallock. After finishing their strategy session Uribe took his foot off 3rd base and was promptly tagged out by Evan Longoria .Now I know for a fact, that somewhere in the manuel a 3rd base coach is supposed to manage the baserunner. Again I site the manual .Managers always should know where the ball is especially when yr 3 feet away from the baserunner.

   I again was embarrassed when Walloch sent Ellis home after a short pop up to right fielder Beltran .Ellis was out by 6 feet.Forget about the tag,Ellis said it best.I could go on and on.Kershaw is being treated for shell shock after not being taken out in the 3rd inning of the last stand.

  Finally I will end with this.Lasorda and Alston had one year contracts.Of course they did win World Championships. Today Mattingly was quoted that he wanted to keep the coaching staff intact.Again the wrong decision better to take 3rd base coach with you.It was a "remarkable season"despite the manager and 3rd base coach!

FJ is hibernating
FJ is hibernating

I can't stop watching that video Mike posted earlier of that goat taking out that little kid.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

I still kinda hope that Seager, Guererro , Garcia, and Schlieber start the year in AA.

And that Urias and Anderson dominate the Cal League.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

I'm generally on the "injuries weren't Sue's fault" side, but I feel FULLY unqualified to talk about gender discrimination.

Technogit
Technogit

Do you think Kershaw would let him do that? Clayton strikes me as a pretty savvy young man who just may know better that to let that happen.

I Digesti
I Digesti

He also has caught both Kershaw and Billingsley

Technogit
Technogit

Well that's pretty interesting! Probably a very good move, replacing them.

Jobu
Jobu

@DINGERS! Spring Training will determine where Guerrero goes at the beginning of the season

Nonfactor
Nonfactor

@DBrim It's not unreasonable to believe that the increased scrutinization placed on Sue, some of it because she is a woman, had an affect on her employment with the organization.

Nineteen84
Nineteen84

A pitcher can't remove himself from a game if his manager doesn't take the ball from him/have any reliever ready to come in. Ask Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Pretty smart guys I'm sure. Also gamers.

But before this becomes an actual discussion I was just making a joke.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

Arms a plenty!!! It'll be nice to finally see the cupboard full with solid prospects at every level after another draft class.

Pie Fucker
Pie Fucker

@Nonfactor @DBrim likewise not unreasonable to believe her performance was the only factor that led to her dismissal. 

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

That's kinda funny. I hope she gets a raise.

West Coast Ram
West Coast Ram

@Nonfactor @Pie Fucker @DBrim other than the strength and conditioning coach was also let go.  I believe Sue should have stayed but Downey should have been gone by the allstar break.

Nonfactor
Nonfactor

@Pie Fucker @Nonfactor @DBrim It's one thing to believe that the Dodgers are above gender discrimination, it's another to ridicule others for raising the possibility of it as a motive.