The Dodgers lost again last night and are eight games out of first place. Manager Don Mattingly is disgusted. Here’s what he had to say after last night’s loss:*
“Basically, we’re sh**ty,” Mattingly said. “We’re just not that good . . . Home, away, whatever. I don’t know what that has to do with it . . . I really think you should talk to [the players]. I’m tired of answering the questions, honestly.”
Last season the Dodgers hit a low point when they were nine and a half games out. Mattingly was almost fired then, partially because when you have a $200 million roster you can’t really replace the players, partially because he seemed to be in a personal funk, disgusted with what was going on. We saw his displeasure on display at the end of last season too, when his friend and bench coach Trey Hillman was fired and Mattingly had issues with Ned Colletti.
I’m not advocating for the dismissal of Mattingly — I think he deserves a lot of credit for last season’s turn around — but a manager’s job is usually to be the one who calms everyone down when they get frustrated. Not to be the public face of the team’s frustration.
*The Times story censored that quote more, but multiple Twitter sources noted the particular expletive used by Mattingly. Which, laughs aside, I think is kind of important. Those of us who are passionate users of profanity know the subtle differences between various curse words in various contexts. Or at least I hope we do.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.