Monday, October 21, 2013 sure looked like the end of the line for Don Mattingly with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Instead, it may have only helped him get what he wanted.
About two-and-a-half months after that infamous press conference in which Mattingly and Ned Colletti practically refused to look to each other, the Dodgers have given Mattingly a new contract, reportedly for three years through 2016. Terms have yet to be disclosed.
It's the right move for both sides, as Mattingly made it clear that having a one-year, "lame duck" contract just wasn't going to cut it. His reasoning was that the players know he could be on the way out very soon, so he can't get as much production out of them. That's debatable, but certainly understandable from his point of view.
I'm not sure how many other managers can claim to have gone 42-8 during a 50-game stretch at any point of any season (probably very few), so he's shown he can win. He guided the Dodgers to Game 6 of the NLCS before the Cardinals advanced, and that was without Matt Kemp and with a very banged up Hanley Ramirez.
Now that Mattingly has been taken care of, it's time to keep moving forward. They certainly have the pitching addressed, as they've added arms like Dan Haren and Jamey Wright, and re-signed Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell. There's always the possibility of trading an outfielder, though that seems less likely as time passes. Maybe Andre Ethier gets moved closer to the season, if I had to guess.
I think the biggest issue is whether or not Clayton Kershaw and/or Hanley Ramirez get their extensions. I would certainly hope so, but that's going to cost a lot of loot. Even the Dodgers may have to be cautious there.
In the meantime, kudos to Colletti, Mattingly, and the rest of Dodgers' management for getting this deal done and moving forward. Let's remember that Mattingly has only managed three seasons (260-225), so he's still learning and improving his in-game tactics. With a new deal that brings stability, maybe 2014 is the year the Dodgers put it all together.