In less than a year, new ownership has aggressively addressed the Dodgers' roster, scouting department and even 51-year-old Dodger Stadium (undergoing a $100 million offseason makeover).
Unaddressed, though, is manager Don Mattingly's contract status. Mattingly is entering the final year of his three-year contract. There is an option for 2014, but Mattingly was told early in the offseason that the new owners were not prepared to exercise that option at this point.
That could leave Mattingly in an uncomfortable lame-duck status as he leads a team with the highest payroll in major-league history and outsized expectations to match into the 2013 season. But Mattingly said the situation does not make him uncomfortable or concerned about his status with the Dodgers' new owners.
"Not at all. I'm absolutely fine with it," Mattingly said. "The way I look at it is this: Somebody that comes in and spends $2 billion on a team and takes the payroll over $200 million, they're not going to hesitate to get rid of the manager if they don't like him. I feel I got a vote of confidence (by returning for 2013). If they didn't like me or didn't like the job I'd done, I'd already be gone."
Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten and GM Ned Colletti have been supportive of Mattingly in all of their comments and there is every indication the manager's option will be exercised at some point (if not given an extension of some kind). In the meantime, Mattingly said he doesn't intend to let his contract status become a distraction.
"You know going into the season there's going to be a stretch of games where we lose six of 10 or just don't look good," Mattingly said. "I don't want to become a part of the storyline or a distraction for my ballclub. What I want to do is cut out as much noise as possible -- and that goes for all the talk about expectations and payroll and anything that distracts my players from what they need to do -- and I don't want that noise to be about me.
"I can tell you this: It's not going to affect how I manage or how I prepare the ballclub. I can't worry about it. I'm confident in myself. And, you know what? I have confidence in Stan and Ned and the belief they have in me."