Dodgers fans have assumed for a while now that 2013 would determine how much longer Don Mattingly would be with the club (maybe Ned Colletti as well), and now that’s all but official.
Last fall, Mattingly politely asked the club to exercise its one-year option before this final year of his contract. The Dodgers politely refused. He will thus begin the summer as a lame duck, except nothing about Donnie Baseball is ever lame, so let’s just say he will be paddling upstream in a situation that could get absolutely daffy.
“It was a 30-second conversation about the option, they said that wasn’t the plan for me or my coaches, it was a moot point, and I’m fine with that,” Mattingly said in a phone interview. “But you would have liked for them to pick up the extensions so the players could be shown confidence. You never want it to be like, after a couple of bad games, people are saying, ‘Oh, are they gonna change managers now?”
Not all that surprising since it was only late in 2012 that he was even confirmed to be returning in 2013, but the way the quotes were phrased, they might as well have told him directly, “Win the World Series or you’re gone, thanks.”
It makes sense, of course, because with a payroll well north of $200 million, not making it deep in the playoffs would be a huge disappointment in relation to fan expectations, and the ownership/front office are simply planning ahead by having a pre-determined fall guy to protect themselves if things go awry.