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Don Mattingly says no thanks to the Nationals. And he may regret it one day.

Nov 4, 2009, 8:55 AM EDT

Donnie Baseball was invited to come to D.C. to interview for the Nats job, but declined, says Alden Gonzalez at  The theory: that the Dodgers are working to formalize Mattingly’s heir-apparent status in Los Angeles, officially making him Joe Torre’s successor.

I’d like to see Mattingly get the Dodgers’ job, but these heir-apparent situations can be dicey. When an opening happens, teams like to — and should — consider all of the available options rather than lock themselves into a situation beforehand. What if Mattingly — or even his patron, Joe Torre — falls into disgrace before the end of next year?  What if some other, amazing candidate reveals himself in the meantime?  The Dodgers are locked in to some degree and, at the very least, will have to pay some money to undo what they previously formalized.

And  locking himself in as the heir apparent might not be the best thing for Mattingly either. After all, if there was one team that can’t necessarily plan for the future right now, it’s the Dodgers. What if the team has new owners at the end of next year? What if it’s bankrupt?  Isn’t there a non-trivial chance that L.A. could change its mind about all of this?  And if it does, will Mattingly be happy that he passed up an opportunity?

  1. YankeesfanLen - Nov 4, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    I can really see another disappointment coming from this ala Yankees. At this level, even having people want to talk to you is a resume enhancer in itself, and Donnie Baseball’s general demeanor doesn’t scream out as polished as some team owners may desire. And if the Mets call, he should definitely listen, at least he’d be an upgrade.

  2. Old Gator - Nov 4, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    Don Mattingly has his hands full with personal issues right now, leading a domestic life straight out of Jane Eyre. If he’s likely to regret anything, it would be marrying his madwoman-in-the-attic wife in the first place. I wouldn’t count on someone in his position to make lucid decisions about much of anything at a time like that. If I were in his cleats, I wouldn’t go near that karmic meltdown that is the Gnats at this point. Clearly, the Senators were accursed and the ghosts of Ray Walston and Gwen Virdon appear to have migrated over to the new stadium and the new franchise. Similarly, if I were running the Gnats I would look for a managerial candidate with baseball smarts and a stable personal life.
    I hear Wally Backman is still available….

  3. Positively Half St. - Nov 4, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    I hoped you were going to talk about why being the manager for the Nationals would have been a good move, because they are going to be good in a couple of years.
    I also ask Old Gator about the “karmic meltdown” of the Nats. They are finally disconnecting themselves from the structure left from when MLB ran and neglected the team. Mike Rizzo is respected in all the ways Jim Bowden was not. He has been allowed to put together a more robust team in his front office, and he is not going to retread cronies like Bowden did with guys from his Cincinnati days.
    The Nats have had 4 bad seasons since they finished at .500 their first year in DC. The next few years will tell whether the team’s owners will keep the tradition of bad baseball going in the Nation’s Capital, or if they will allow good baseball men to biuld a team that at least contends.

  4. dcfan - Nov 4, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    Don Mattingly didnt turn down the Astros job, the Mets, the Indians or the Marlins (if the do fire their manager). He turned down the Nats. The nats did not underperform. They were not expected to contend or were projected to finish by most exactly were they did finish, dead last in the league. To start your first managing job with a team like that is hard. Just ask Acta, who may fit well in Cleveland who has solid players and has won recently, as apposed to the Nats who he never fit it. He was awful as a Nats manager. So Mattingly definately would regret another manager offer, but the Nats rejection makes sense, all across the board. And you know he asked Torre first too, and im sure Torre said the same thing im saying. For your first manager job, take on a team that could do it that doesn’t, not one thats rebuilding from scratch.

  5. comeonman - Nov 4, 2009 at 3:15 PM


  6. Old Gator - Nov 4, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    If I weren’t traveling this week I would have composed some awful parody of “Positively Fourth Street” to answer you – you know, something really lame like “You got a lot of nerve / to say you are a fan….” But since my sense of meter and rhythm have been scrambled by jet lag today I’ll just note that in most Indic systems each new incarnation carries with it the karmic freight of the last one. Given the way the Senators (and the Expos) fared, and assuming that sports teams have a transmigrating atman (soul will do as a rough translation), the DC area is lucky its new team wasn’t the first major league cockfighting franchise.

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