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Don Mattingly says 2014 option vesting “doesn’t mean I’ll be back” with Dodgers

Oct 21, 2013, 3:15 PM EDT

Don Mattingly Getty Getty Images

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Don Mattingly’s option for next season vested when the Dodgers won the NLDS, but the manager is dropping some pretty strong hints that he doesn’t want to go on without an extension beyond 2014.

Mattingly told a group of reporters that the option vesting “doesn’t mean I’ll be back” and added that “we’ll talk about it and go from there” and “I love it here, but I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted.” In other words, he wants to be under contract for more than one season.

Even if the Dodgers aren’t all that interested in giving Mattingly a multi-year extension the worst-case scenario from that would be firing him with years and millions remaining on the deal and considering all the money they’ve thrown around recently it’s hard to imagine that relative chump change really mattering to upper management.

  1. Caught Looking - Oct 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Is Mattingly pulling a Riggleman here?

    • gloccamorra - Oct 21, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      No, maybe he REALLY thinks he’s not wanted. He IS a holdover from Frank McCourt, who hired him. He’s making chump change so they can fire him and bring in their preferred guy, Alfredo Griffin. It just sounds like he got wind of the plan and will quit first.

      • A Whole New Blue Report - Oct 21, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        More like Dusty Baker then Alfredo Griffin

    • dickclydesdale - Oct 21, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      “Donnie Dumbo’ as Mattingly is known in L.A. made terribly moves that cost the Dodgers 12 games in the first half. I counted! Then in the playoffs he burnt out Kershaw & took the bat out of the hands of A-Gon & left Hanley with no protection in the lineup. Mattingly your FIRED! Go back to Indiana & coach backyard wiffle ball. I HATE YOU!!!!!

    • veraarnold - Oct 21, 2013 at 10:19 PM

      Do you like acting as inhibited as you are at work in your own house, and having future work evaluations reflect how well you entertain as well as how well you do your job?
      Then by all means invite people from the office.
      you have to try at least once,
      I assure you will know the meaning of success….. ℬ­­­­A­­­­ℛ­­­1­­­7­­­.Ⅽ­­­­­O­­­­­­Ⅿ

    • henryd3rd - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:22 AM

      Mattingly would be better served by shutting up and waiting for the next shoe to drop. He’s got a contract and he’ll get paid; but I see no reason for Dodgers to rush to make their decision while that playoffs loss is so fresh in their minds.

  2. blabidibla - Oct 21, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    After you flat out blew game 1 of the NLCS, I wouldn’t be trying to leverage anyone right now.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      It was a gamble pinch running for Gonzalez, but that didn’t cost the Dodgers game (and series) nearly as much as Joe Kelly busting Hanley’s ribs.

    • xmatt0926x - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Didn’t Andre Ethier misplay a flyball near the centerfield wall in the beginning of that game that cost them 2 runs early?

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        Hard to fault Ethier since he was still hobbled a bit.

      • davidpom50 - Oct 21, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        Would’ve taken a pretty spectacular play to make that catch, especially with the sore ankle. Sure, there’s quite a few guys around the league who could do it, but that ball was crushed, hit high off the wall in the deepest part of center. Definitely not Ethier’s fault they lost that game.

        And pinch running for Gonzalez absolutely, 100% cost them that game. Maybe not the whole series, but definitely that game. Michael Young replaced him and hit into two inning ending double plays, including one with the go-ahead run at 3rd.

    • blabidibla - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Stop making excuses for the guy.

      He took a gamble in game 1, a bad gamble, and it failed. He blew HIS job, and didn’t put his players in a position to succeed.

      He’s mediocre at best. As a Giants fan, I hope the Dodgers offer him a nice, long-term contract.

  3. psousa1 - Oct 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Mattingly sees: Washington opening, Cincinnati opening, Detroit opening. All playoff ready teams they won’t nearly have the future headaches the dodgers will have.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      Do you really think there aren’t any future headaches with any of the open jobs?

      And by future headaches on the Dodgers, what do you mean? That team was loose all season long.

    • drewy44 - Oct 21, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      Cincinnati: probably losing Choo, trying to trade BP, getting Jay Bruce to be consistent, figuring out if Billy Hamilton has a role outside of pinch running, getting production out of the left side of the infield, and praying none of the arms fall off any of the pitchers since they’ve been Dustied. No headaches there. Nope. None.

    • gammagammahey - Oct 21, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      The Nats job is definitely the plum opening. The Reds and Tigers are both looking at aging and departing players and big contracts that are going to limit their flexibility.

  4. senioreditor2 - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    I agree, if they don’t want him then they should let him go. I’m not a big Mattingly fan so if they go in a different direction it’s fine with me. Maybe LaRussa can be coaxed out of retirement?

  5. jya87 - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    The number 1 reason why I don’t want to see Mattingly back is his inability to think ahead. Too many times the camera shows him in the dugout with an “Oh… shit… I hope this works out” look on his face. Does anyone remember the postseason booth announcers wondering why Mattingly didn’t have anyone warming up in the bullpen when either the starter or reliever was in trouble? That’s classic Mattingly. He doesn’t prepare for the situations that may come up, and Stan Kasten and the upper management have undoubtedly seen too much of it this season to be comfortable in extending Mattingly.

    Just two key examples: 1) Paco Rodriguez coming in from the bullpen to face the left-handed Heyward. Lefty on lefty! Good move, right? Except Paco actually came in one batter BEFORE Heyward and was asked to intentionally walk the bases loaded with Jose Costanza batting (I won’t even get into why we didn’t go after Constanza instead). “Please throw 4 balls before you try to get this crucial out.” Paco subsequently can’t throw a strike, falls behind, and Heyward puts the Braves ahead.

    2) Pinch running for Adrian Gonzalez with Dee Gordon. You’ve replaced your 4-hole hitter. Why? To score a run. Sure. So either ask Gordon to steal, or at least put down a bunt to get him into scoring position. Mattingly does neither, and Puig hits into a double play. The Cardinals get to skip Hanley and pitch to Michael Young the rest of the night. This move made even less sense given that Molina was behind the plate.

    It’s ultimately up to the players to come through. The Dodgers ultimately lost because of the Cardinals’ outstanding pitching. But your manager needs to put you in a position to succeed, and Mattingly consistently puts them in a position where they’re likely to fail. The team bailed him out this season, and I’m personally disappointed knowing he’ll be back.

    • mkprz - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      You got that right. The players execute, but you need to place them in the right places to do that. Mattingly just could not do that.

    • mkprz - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      When Gonzalez was being replaced by Gordon, even the announcers made note of that dilemma. They predicted that exact thing that would occur. Two of the announcers were ex-major Leaguers and they caught that instantly, not after the fact.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        Who cares what the announcers think? Do you always let people think for you? Mattingly made a gamble. He played to win in 9 innings. It didn’t work out. Two postseason decisions as mentioned above are not a reason to get rid of a manager. Sorry.

        The reason why the Dodgers lost the series wasn’t because of Game 1. You have to look at the series as a whole, and for the whole damn time, our offensive MVP was playing with cracked ribs delivered by a “nervous” piece of work.

        But the announcers barely mentioned that, so it must not have happened.

      • blabidibla - Oct 21, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        Still stings, eh Koufaxmitzfah?

  6. coloradogolfcoupons - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Give Mattingly a contract extension…as a coach in the minors. He is on the Ron Washington scale of managerial ineptitude, although I used to think Wash was in a class of his own. I strong leader could have reigned Puig in a little bit, and nobody in his right mind puts Michael Young at 1st base for Gonzo, noo matter what the situation. Young is at the stage of his career where he is BELOW replacement level both in the field and at the plate. LaRussa would be perfect to replace Mattingly.

    • A Whole New Blue Report - Oct 21, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      I think the only way Mattingly will get an extension is if the Dodgers favor his accomplishments that happen this season. However, this is a business and costly mistakes are looked upon. Lets be honest, Mattingly made a lot of mistakes this season. He had a lot of pressure put on him to make this team the best team in baseball but he did but he didn’t do it all by himself. He did have help and when I hear that management was thinking of hiring another former manager as a coach to help guide Mattingly, that tells me that they are not too confident with him managing the Los Angeles Dodgers. So I think he is right about being “not wanted” because I feel as if he isn’t from the Dodgers perspective. He is also from the McCourt era but so is Ned Colletti and I am surprised he wasn’t fired a while back. However, I think what helped Colletti was the trade with Boston that really capitalize the Dodgers in becoming the New York Yankees of the NL West.

      Going back to Mattingly, he does have a $1.4 million dollar vesting option in which the Dodgers said yes too but he doesn’t want the option for only one year he wants an extension. He says that he wants to stay but its in the Dodgers hands and I really don’t think Mattingly will be back if he is not signed.

      Dusty Baker would be an excellent candidate but will see.

  7. wheels579 - Oct 21, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    This has nothing to do with Riggleman or leverage. Mattingly just wants to know if he’s truly wanted, and it is a fair request. Riggleman quit on his team during the season. Mattingly did not do that. He requested his option be picked up prior to the season, was told no. Took his team to the NLCS despite a poor first two months and injuries to key players. If that isn’t worth a 1-2 year extension amounting to peanuts in comparison to what they pay players these days, the Dodgers should move on. Anybody in Mattingly’s position would want the same thing.

  8. weaselpuppy - Oct 21, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Welcome to the D, Donnie Baseball! Same talent level as LA, fewer distractions.

  9. wheels579 - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    It’s not about accomplishments. Joe Girardi had to wait until the end of this season to get extended. Francona had to wait in Boston multiple times and got scapegoated there as soon as the chips were down. It’s the modern philosophy that managers are disposable. Mattingly isn’t infallible, but he doesn’t deserve lame duck status. Why have a ridiculous double standard where you hand out absurd contracts to players who likely will not fulfill them but you keep a manager only because his option vested? There’s very little difference between firing Mattingly now and giving him at least a one-year extension, so Mattingly is asking for one or the other. And he is justified.

  10. jtp101 - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    If Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp had been healthy, the only managerial decisions we would be talking about right now are the World Series pitching matchups with the Red Sox.

    • kastout11 - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:53 AM

      I agree with that 100%. Kemp is one of the top 5 players in the game and not in your lineup. I think he might have made a difference.

  11. beachnbaseball - Oct 22, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    LA’s front officer is not enamored with Mattingly. He’s posturing himself to be unemployed by the time the WS is over. He is just not an impressive manager.

  12. kastout11 - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    If I were Mattingly, I would be out the door right now. I think it is clear that the Dodgers do not trust or want him. They want Dusty Baker. There are plent of good managerial jobs open. Honestly, even though he had a hell of a season and has a lot of talent, I would not want to manage Puig. He is a wild card.

    • MyTeamsAllStink - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      The last thing the dodger pitching staff needs is Dusty Baker.He’ll ruin Kershaws arm like he ruined Mark Priors

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