CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is reporting that the Los Angeles Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have come to a mutual agreement to part ways.
Dodgers higherups like Mattingly very much, but it was apparent there wasn’t support for the long-term. Word is Mattingly felt he was treated very well by baseball president Andrew Friedman and others, but the sides ultimately decided it was better to move on.
An announcement is expected later Thursday.
Mattingly took over a mediocre Dodgers team in 2011, and with the help of an essentially infinite payroll, turned the team into a fixture in the playoffs. Mattingly’s Dodgers won the last three division titles, but couldn’t make it out of the NLDS in the last two seasons.
It’s difficult to judge just how successful Mattingly’s tenure in Los Angeles really was. Three straight seasons of 90 or more wins should make a manager bulletproof, but there’s a different set of expectations when ownership is spending upwards of $300 million on payroll. With that much money being thrown around getting to the playoffs is a baseline expectation. It doesn’t help that Mattingly has had more trouble setting a playoff rotation than anyone with two top-line starters ever should.
On the other hand, the gargantuan payroll didn’t bring Mattingly a whole host of outright superstars. A lot of the money has been tied up in aging, semi-good players whom Mattingly has had to figure out how to properly juggle. Toss in mercurial youngsters like Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig, and trying to set the best lineup every day becomes a pretty heavy burden.
The good news for Mattingly is that all those 90-win seasons should make him an attractive option for any team with a job opening. Maybe then we’ll find out just how good or bad he really is.