Monday, October 21, 2013

Doubts surround Mattingly's possible return

Judging by today's joint press conference with Ned Colletti and Don Mattingly, something seems pretty obvious: Mattingly will only return with a multi-year contract, and nothing less. 

Will he get what he wants?  The jury is still out on that.

In what was probably a surprise to most people, his 2014 option has already vested (or, became permanent) after beating the Braves in the NLDS.  Even with that, it's not a slam dunk that Mattingly will use that to return on what is basically a one-year deal.  In fact, that appears unlikely.

Mattingly contests that a one-year deal basically gives him the dreaded "lame-duck" status, something his old boss Joe Torre desperately tried to avoid in his Yankee days.  It's understandable given the intricacies of running a big league clubhouse.

Still, given the tone of his delivery, I'm not at all convinced that this thing will get figured out.  Even with a run that lasted until Game 6 of the NLCS, fair or not, Mattingly's decision making was a subject of scrutiny all season long.  Will that be enough to chase him out the door?  It could be.

Maybe all of this talk is just what both sides need to hear to clear the air, and Mattingly will ink another three or four-year contract this week.  Maybe it's his final words in Dodger blue, and he'll take over a club like the Nationals or Tigers with the retirements of Davey Johnson and Jim Leyland, respectively.  Maybe he'll be out of baseball for the 2014 season.

Colletti said this week will be spent evaluating Mattingly, the coaching staff, and player evaluations for next season.  So, we should soon find out if Donnie Baseball is locked in with the Dodgers for the foreseeable future.

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