Two months after he declared in an edgy post-season press conference he was uncomfortable entering the final year of his contract, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has received an extension through the 2016 season, sources told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday.
While management remains mystified over how the press conference devolved into what sounded like an ultimatum from Mattingly, it engaged almost immediately in a steady negotiation to continue Mattingly's tenure as field manager. In three seasons since taking over for Joe Torre, Mattingly is 260-225 with the club, which has improved in each of his seasons. The Dodgers reached the National League Championship Series in 2013, losing in six games to the Cardinals.
Occasionally unsteady in his in-game decisions, Mattingly nevertheless is a poised and unchallenged leader for the ballclub. In that way, he is viewed much in the way his mentor, Torre, was in New York, even while guiding the quite talented Yankees to four World Series titles. Torre will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer.
In 2013, the Dodgers won their first NL West title since 2009, not necessarily because Mattingly dazzled from the top step, but because he was calm and supportive when the team was at its worst. Leveled by injuries to the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, the Dodgers were in last place and buried in the division in late June. A month later, they were in first, and a month after that running away with the division. The Dodgers finished with 92 wins and 11 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mattingly was the runner-up to Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle in Manager of the Year voting.
A contract option for 2014 vested when the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves in the division series, and yet Mattingly, 52, seemed to press for more in late October.
"I don't want to be somewhere people don't want you," he said, later adding, "I know where I have confidence in myself to do the job. If people don't feel the same way …"
The sides negotiated ever since, though without the kind of urgency that suggested talks would end in any way other than an extension. The contract is for three years, beginning in 2014.
An announcement from the club is expected this week. ESPN was the first to report on the agreement.
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