Don Mattingly says no thanks to the Nationals. And he may regret it one day.

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Donnie Baseball was invited to come to D.C. to interview for the Nats job, but declined, says Alden Gonzalez at MLB.com.  The theory: that the Dodgers are working to formalize Mattingly’s heir-apparent status in Los Angeles, officially making him Joe Torre’s successor.

I’d like to see Mattingly get the Dodgers’ job, but these heir-apparent situations can be dicey. When an opening happens, teams like to — and should — consider all of the available options rather than lock themselves into a situation beforehand. What if Mattingly — or even his patron, Joe Torre — falls into disgrace before the end of next year?  What if some other, amazing candidate reveals himself in the meantime?  The Dodgers are locked in to some degree and, at the very least, will have to pay some money to undo what they previously formalized.

And  locking himself in as the heir apparent might not be the best thing for Mattingly either. After all, if there was one team that can’t necessarily plan for the future right now, it’s the Dodgers. What if the team has new owners at the end of next year? What if it’s bankrupt?  Isn’t there a non-trivial chance that L.A. could change its mind about all of this?  And if it does, will Mattingly be happy that he passed up an opportunity?