UPDATE: Just a quick follow-up from this morning, Dodgers general maanger Ned Colletti told the Associated Press earlier this evening that manager Don Mattingly is “doing fine.”
Asked if it was false to say Mattingly would be fired this week, Colletti simply said: “My perspective hasn’t changed. I’m done talking about it.”
8:52 AM ET: I mean, yes, it’s totally reasonable to think his job is in jeopardy given how poorly the Dodgers have played amid high expectations. But Ken Rosenthal’s latest column is pretty bold in speculating that Mattingly’s days are numbered. Rather than just analyze the team’s struggles, Rosenthal talks about his gut feeling that Mattingly could be fired at any moment. And quotes an anonymous scout who feels the same way:
Watching Sunday’s meltdown on television, I thought, “Mattingly might be gone tomorrow.” And then I got a text from a rival scout, one who has no particular insight into the Dodgers, but is attuned — like so many in the sport — to the game’s day-to-day rhythms.
“Making the call — Donnie Ballgame will get the axe tomorrow,” the scout said.
When I asked the scout why he thought that, he replied, “Gut feeling. The way they’ve been losing.”
Rosenthal is kinda like Buster Olney in that rarely do either of them make predictions or speculate about things without a pretty solid basis for doing so and rarely do either of them tease something that is unlikely to happen. While I don’t have too big a problem with people who handle their beat differently, there’s a conservatism about Rosenthal and Olney that is admirable in the scoop business.
So I can’t help but wonder — and it is just a wonder — if maybe Rosenthal has some inside info on Mattingly’s future that, while not quite solid enough to be actionable in a proper news report, gives him some comfort to say stuff like this.
Either way: I look forward to the “Trey Hillman-as-interim-manager, transitioning to Mike Scioscia as permanent manager” era for the Dodgers with great eagerness.
Terry Collins is still the manager of the New York Mets, but all signs point to that state of affairs ending some time soon after Sunday afternoon. To that end, the New York Post reports a handful of familiar names being mentioned in connection with their impending managerial search:
Early persons of interest, according to industry sources, all have ties to the organization: Robin Ventura, Alex Cora and Kevin Long. Two others with ties to the organization — Bob Geren and Chip Hale — are also in the conversation, according to sources.
By the way: can we talk about how great it is that a term that is normally associated with criminal suspects — “persons of interest” — is being used in connection with potential future New York Mets managers? OK, we just talked about it.
These names, with the exception of Cora, all belong to former managers with Mets connections. Hale was the Mets third base coach and was passed over for the managerial gig when Collins was hired and eventually managed the Diamondbacks. Ventura, of course, played for the Mets for three seasons before retiring and becoming the White Sox’ manager. Geren was the Mets bench coach when they won the 2015 pennant but moved to the Dodgers to be closer to his family in California. He’s formally a manager with the Oakland A’s. Cora played a season and change with the Mets and has served as the bench coach for the Astros in the 2017 season.
In the recent past, as recently-retired players with little or no coaching or managerial experience were hired to manage teams, some people may have referred to these candidates as “retreads.” With Dusty Baker’s success in Washington after a few years of semi-retirement and with a number of inexperienced managers showing that they were not all that they were cracked up to be, however, the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward looking for experienced candidates.
Obviously the whole offseason will determine if I’m imagining that or if it does, in fact, becomes the trend. And, of course, the Mets actually have to formally let Collins go before hiring someone else. Not that I would put it past them to mess that up.
Back in May the Phillies gave Pete Mackanin a contract extension covering the remainder of 2017, all of 2018 and created a team option for 2019. Yesterday, however, Mackanin said he had no idea if the Phillies were going to bring him back as manager next season:
“I assume I’ll be here, but you never know. You never know what they’re going to do. So you just keep moving on. I just take it a day at a time and manage the way I think I should manage and handle players the way I think I should handle them. That’s all I can do. If it’s not good enough then … fine. I hope it’s good enough. I hope he thinks it’s good enough.”
Maybe that’s just cautious talk, though, as there doesn’t seem to be any signals coming from the Phillies front office that Mackanin is in trouble. If anything things have looked up in the second half of the season with the callups of Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams each of whom have shown that they belong in the bigs. The team is 33-37 since the All-Star break and is certainly a better team now than the one Mackanin started with in April. And it’s not his fault that they don’t have any pitching.
I suspect Mackanin will be back next year, but Mackanin has been around the block enough times to know that nothing is guaranteed for a big league manager. Even one under contract.