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

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Donnie Baseball was invited to come to D.C. to interview for the Nats job, but declined, says Alden Gonzalez at MLB.com.  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?

Phillies, Jake Arrieta having a “dialogue”

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No, not like a Socratic dialogue, in which each side, in a mostly cooperative, but intellectually confrontational manner interrogate one another as a means of testing assertions and finding truths, though that would be an AMAZING thing for baseball players and teams to do. Rather, low-level talks about possible interest in Jake Arrieta, baseball free agent.

Arrieta is probably the top free agent still available, now that Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer have signed. Philly has money — it’s a big market — and could use a pitcher, but Jon Heyman, who, much like Plato did for Socrates, reported the dialogue, says they’re not looking to go long term with anyone.

It may make sense for Arrieta to take a so-called “pillow contract” and come back on the market in a year, but if he’s willing to accept a one-year deal, there are a lot of teams other than Philly who may offer one, and you’d have to figure Arrieta would prefer to pitch for a team more likely to contend.

Dialogues are cool, though. You should go have one over lunch.