The Dodgers, Don Mattingly part ways

74 Comments

Jon Heyman reports that Don Mattingly and the Dodgers “have parted ways.”

Mattingly was under contract for 2016, but ESPN reports he was offered an extension some time last week. The original headline to this post said the Dodgers “fired” Mattingly, but multiple reports since the news broke say that Mattingly and the Dodgers were on the same page regarding his departure. Depending on the nature of the offer he received and the conversations which surrounded it, it’s possible to couch this in any number of ways, but with additional reporting, “firing” is probably too harsh a way to put it.

But whatever you call it, the parting of ways is not terribly unexpected. While the Dodgers have had success during Mattingly’s tenure, winning the past three NL West titles and going 446-363 in his five years in charge, they have also undershot expectations, losing in the NLDS the past two seasons and the NLCS in 2013. This despite the game’s highest payroll and considerable expectations.

Also not working in Mattingly’s favor, a clubhouse that is, to put it mildly, difficult. While Yasiel Puig‘s greatest moments have been the most notable off-the-field distractions over the past few years, Mattingly was seen in a shouting match with Andre Ethier during the elimination game of this year’s NLDS. Molly Knight’s book about the Dodgers, “The Best Team Money Can Buy,” likewise revealed that there is no small amount of friction and no small number of difficult personalities under contract for the Dodgers.

Not that the Dodgers’ failures can all be laid at Mattingly’s feet. L.A’s bullpen lacks the sort of talent necessary to go far in the postseason in recent years, with there being no clear bridge between the starters and closer Kenley Jansen. And while the first two of those starters — Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke — are phenomenal, injuries to Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy made for a thin overall rotation in 2015, putting that much more pressure on the aces and the pen.

Mattingly may find himself a new job pretty quickly. He’s generally well respected in the game and the challenges he faced in Los Angeles are well known. Don’t be surprised to see him interviewed by the Marlins, Nationals and other teams with managerial openings soon.

As for the Dodgers? The search begins.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

AP Photo
4 Comments

FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.