There’s a lot of interest in this move, evidently. So, I decided to do a quick post on it.
The Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have decided to part ways, and CBS Sports is reporting the decision was made mutually.
The Dodgers were 446-363 in Mattingly’s five seasons as skipper, but they were never able to get to the World Series despite several high-profile trades and free-agent acquisitions, or the fact that they had two of the best pitchers in baseball — Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke — at the top of the rotation. The Mets beat the Dodgers in the NLDS this month, a series in which the Dodgers started Kershaw and Grienke four times in five games.
I assume it’s because Mattingly has such close Yankees ties, not to mention the fact that so many fans still revere him from his playing days in New York, but I’ve gotten more questions than I actually expected today about the possibility of Donnie Baseball managing the RailRiders next season. While I’m sure the RailRiders would sign up for it, I’m not sure that’s a realistic possibility. Mattingly is well-liked in big-league circles, and many (the Dodgers’ brass included) felt he did a really strong job in a tough situation in Los Angeles. There are several teams right now — the Nationals, Marlins, Padres and Mariners — looking for managers. The rumor mill for a while now has been indicting the Marlins would be very interested in Mattingly if he became available. And now, he is.
Given his success and the interest in him, I can’t imagine Mattingly wouldn’t get a big league job. Even if he didn’t, I’m not sure anything but sheer loyalty would bring him back to the Yankees organization — nor am I sure the Yankees would even want to bring him back. Joe Girardi is cemented as the manager, and it doesn’t seem like the front office is all that dissatisfied with his work. Bringing Mattingly back to the organization — even if it’s just as a favor to him to manage for a year while he awaits a dream job — would only invite speculation Girardi is on the rocks. And, that’s just not the case.
I do think the next RailRiders manager will be like Dave Miley, in the sense that he will have some big-league managing experience to go along with a strong understanding of how the minor-league system works. But there are some great candidates already in the system that fit that bill. Mattingly doesn’t have extensive player-development experience, and while I’m not suggesting he wouldn’t or couldn’t be great in that role anyway, it just doesn’t seem like the perfect fit to me.
So, cool idea. It’d be fun for local fans. But, it isn’t happening.