Just a couple of weeks ago Don Mattingly and Ned Colletti were doing this:
Now they’re talking, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, and a multi-year deal could be in the offing:
The Los Angeles Dodgers are discussing a new, multiyear contract with manager Don Mattingly, two sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com. No deal is imminent, but there is optimism on both sides that a new deal will be completed.
Previously it was announced that Mattingly would be back for his option year in 2014, but now it seems that he will not be a lame duck when he does.
Which makes sense. As I’ve said before, Mattingly is a great fit in L.A. and had an excellent 2013 season. Not just in terms of results but in terms of meshing a lot of difficult personalities, dealing with that early-season hole the Dodgers dug for themselves and handling the media scrutiny that comes with the job. And when you remember that, when he first got the job, he had a lot of issues with the simple of mechanics of managing, you realize how long a way he’s come.
Major League Baseball is not football or basketball. You can rarely hire a big-name famous guy to run your team and expect it to pay any kind of dividends. The Dodgers are doing the right thing by sticking with Mattingly.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Nationals are expected to consider Cal Ripken Jr. for their managerial vacancy. Ripken, of course, was recently reported to have been considered by the club the last time the job was open.
This could be a courtesy. And if you’re a Nats fan, you have to hope it is, right? Because the single biggest argument in favor of Matt Williams when he was hired was that he was a top player in his day, wasn’t too far removed from his playing career and could be a good clubhouse guy who understood what made major leaguers tick. His lack of experience was brushed off. All of which would be the same thing for Ripken, except he doesn’t even have the coaching experience Williams had and is even farther removed from his playing days.
I know he’s famous and everything, but if the Nationals’ 2015 season is evidence of anything, perhaps it should be evidence that sometimes it’s useful to have a manager who has actually, you know, made a pitching change once in his professional life.
Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.
Today the Nationals fired Williams and his entire coaching staff following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.
Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.
His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.
Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.
Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.