The move that has been speculated about endlessly has finally happened. After winning his third straight division championship - a first for the franchise - manager Don Mattingly and Dodgers have agreed to part ways.
I can't say that I'm surprised, but I hardly believe it to be warranted. As I've written about plenty of times before, I like Donnie Baseball, and it seems clear to me that he had the respect of the clubhouse. That said, maybe change was needed for the team, the new ownership, the front office and its fanbase. Maybe it is just time.
Certainly, Don Mattingly felt it was time to go. In a strange turn, it appears this decision to part ways was not initiated by the Dodgers front office. Instead, according to Ramona Shelbourne at ESPN, it was Donnie who ultimately decided it was time to go.
Mattingly had one year remaining on his contract, and sources indicated to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that the Dodgers offered him an extension this past weekend. But after years of uncertainty about the Dodgers' long-term commitment to him -- Mattingly has worked under two ownership groups and two general managers -- he informed the team earlier this week that he preferred to move on.So, assuming this is true, it appears it wasn't the front office who pushed for this conclusion. Heck, they wanted him to stay. After all, there aren't too many managers out there willing and able to juggle an ever-changing roster the way Mattingly did; while at the same time accepting and implementing the constant input (i.e. demands) of an stat orientated front office. That's the kind of work a magician does.
Per a Dodgers press release:
Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, General Manager Farhan Zaidi and Senior Vice-President of Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes met and talked extensively with Mattingly for several days following the conclusion of the season.Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.
“As our end of season process began, we discussed the past year, our future goals, necessary changes, roster needs and other matters relating to next year’s campaign,” said Dodger President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “As the dialogue progressed daily, it evolved to a point where we all agreed that it might be best for both sides to start fresh. We decided to think about it for a couple of days and when we spoke again, we felt comfortable that this was the direction to go. I have the utmost respect for Donnie and thoroughly enjoyed working with him this past season. I want to thank him for his hard work and collaboration, as well as his accomplishments, including three consecutive National League West titles. I wish him nothing but success in the future.”
“I’m honored and proud to have had the opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Mattingly. “I’ve enjoyed my experiences and relationships with the organization’s staff and players throughout my eight years in L.A. After meeting with Andrew, Farhan and Josh, we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me. We talked about several scenarios, including my returning in 2016. However, I believe this is the right time and right move for both parties. I’m still very passionate about managing and hope to get the opportunity in the near future. In the meantime, I want to thank the Dodger organization, the city and our fans for the opportunity and wish the club well going forward.”
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