After another disappointing postseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers and their manager, Don Mattingly, have agreed to go their separate ways — ending a five-year relationship in which Mattingly carried a .551 winning percentage, won the NL West the last three seasons, yet never made the World Series.
In L.A., the stakes are that high. Just getting into the playoffs and putting up a good fight against the New York Mets (which the Dodgers did in a five-game NLDS), aren't enough. This is the most expensive team in the baseball, a $300 million would-be juggernaut to which anything less than the World Series is a failure.
Mattingly knows what it's like to be under those bright, bright lights. And he's felt their burn before. There have been plenty of talks the past few years about whether the Dodgers would get rid of him as baseball's most expensive team underachieved at various points of his managing career. But now it's really happening.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was first to report the news, which the Dodgers confirmed a few hours later. Both Mattingly and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman issued statements:
"As our end of season process began, we discussed the past year, our future goals, necessary changes, roster needs and other matters relating to next year's campaign," Friedman said. "As the dialogue progressed daily, it evolved to a point where we all agreed that it might be best for both sides to start fresh. We decided to think about it for a couple of days and when we spoke again, we felt comfortable that this was the direction to go. I have the utmost respect for Donnie and thoroughly enjoyed working with him this past season. I want to thank him for his hard work and collaboration, as well as his accomplishments, including three consecutive National League West titles. I wish him nothing but success in the future."
"I'm honored and proud to have had the opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers," said Mattingly. "I've enjoyed my experiences and relationships with the organization's staff and players throughout my eight years in L.A. After meeting with Andrew, Farhan [Zaidi] and Josh [Byrnes], we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me. We talked about several scenarios, including my returning in 2016. However, I believe this is the right time and right move for both parties. I'm still very passionate about managing and hope to get the opportunity in the near future. In the meantime, I want to thank the Dodger organization, the city and our fans for the opportunity and wish the club well going forward."
Well, that sounds surprisingly happy. It's probably not really that happy. Regardless, the change is probably for the best. The Dodgers have a new front-office regime that's changed many things in the past year. Even if they kept Mattingly around this winter, he'd be on an even hotter seat next season. Just pull that Band-Aid off now, right?
Mattingly, meanwhile, has a good head start on the job market. The Miami Marlins have been said to be interested in his services, pending a dismissal in L.A. Now that looks like, it can happen. And the Dodgers can go look for the right manager to lead their $300 million would-be juggernaut deeper into October.
Whoever that is, though, has to know just winning the division isn't enough in L.A.
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