Don Mattingly was pretty close to being fired in late May

14 Comments

When the Dodgers hit their nadir in late May, people thought it was only a matter of time before Don Mattingly would be fired. The Dodgers poo-pooed that talk, saying that such speculation was unfounded and that Mattingly was safe and secure.  He is secure now thanks to the Dodgers going on an absolute tear over the past two months, but it turns out that, yeah, he was almost chucked aside.

Here’s Bill Plunkett reporting:

Dodgers mgr Don Mattingly might have been a lot closer to being fired than anyone realized at the time. Mattingly said today that Dodgers CEO/president Stan Kasten came to him “around” the time of the Dodgers’ series in Milwaukee in late May — when speculation about Mattingly’s job security was at its height.  “Stan said, ‘I don’t want to do something but if things keep going like this I’m going to have to,'” Mattingly said today. “I understand. You can’t just let things keep going. Sometimes you need to change the voice.”

Lesson 1: even front offices realize that even if managers aren’t making all the difference one way or the other that you sometimes change the manager simply because people expect changes to be made. Lesson 2: never believe what front office people say about a manager’s security.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.