The Dodgers were contractually obligated to give Mattingly the job

16 Comments

We now turn to the latest bit of evidence showing that the Dodgers couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag. Dylan Hernandez reports the following:

Before the start of this season, Mattingly had signed a deal that guaranteed him the manager’s job if Torre stepped down.

Look — I’m not going to quibble too much with the choice of Mattingly as the Dodgers’ manager. He’s a great guy by all accounts. While he hasn’t managed, he’s been the right-hand man of a Hall of Fame manager for the last several years.  He may very well do a fine job there and, because I loved him as a player, I really hope he does.

But what kind of an organization binds itself into hiring a guy via a contractual succession clause like that?  What if the reason Joe Torre stepped down was because the entire team turned on him in a clubhouse revolt? The Dodgers would then have to either install Mattingly nonetheless or else buy him out, likely at a premium over and above what he would have been paid.

Or maybe that’s really it: maybe they locked Mattingly in like that because Mattingly agreed to do the job dirt cheap. I haven’t seen any reports of his salary yet — though I have heard that the deal is for three years — but perhaps it’s peanuts.

But apart from rank parsimony, there is no business or baseball justification that I can think of for pledging to hire someone like the Dodgers apparently pledged to hire Mattingly.  If the Dodgers have one, I do wish they’d share it with the rest of us.

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

Elsa/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

2 Comments

Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.