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Los Angeles Dodgers Shouldn't Stop at Mattingly

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COMMENTARY | Thanks to a terrible start to the season, rumors of the Los Angeles Dodgers firing manager Don Mattingly have been swirling around the team.

Ken Rosenthal kicked off the round of speculation with a column where he quoted "a rival scout" who Rosenthal said "has no particular insight into the Dodgers" saying Mattingly would be fired by Sunday.

Not surprisingly, the scout with no insight into the running of the Dodgers was incorrect in at least the timing of Mattingly's firing.

Still, that started the speculation, including Mattingly telling reporters he doesn't feel he is going to be fired soon. And it hasn't stopped since.

The Associated Press quoted Mattingly answering a question if he feels he would be fired, "I have no idea. I really haven't gotten any feeling that Ned's like on the edge of like, 'Donnie you're the problem here.'"

A club official told Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times that there are "no plans" to fire Mattingly. But as long as the Dodgers continue to struggle, the rumors will continue to swirl and people like Rosenthal will continue to call for Mattingly to get fired.

Mattingly knows what people are saying. The media asks him about it every day. After Clayton Kershaw's latest gem, Mattingly joked that Kershaw saves his job once every five days.

Colletti Should Be On Hot Seat Too

Mattingly is the man who sees the team every day and makes the final in-game decisions. So much of the blame rightfully falls on his head.

But the current roster isn't doing Mattingly any favors. And that falls on the head of General Manager Ned Colletti.

Colletti's biggest feather in his cap is by not trading away any top prospects since the Carlos Santana. That streak may have come to an end with Allen Webster and/or Rubby de la Rosa getting shipped up to Boston as part of a package for Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and, of course, Nick Punto.

And the extension of Andre Ethier is starting to look like a mistake. Ethier has never been able to hit left-handers (a career .239/.297/.356 against left-handers versus .309/.386/.521 against right-handers). There were warning signs that Ethier wasn't a long-term solution for the Dodgers and with top prospects in the system in the outfield, a placeholder might have been a better move for the Dodgers.

Ethier's attitude could be in question as well.

Mattingly benched Ethier against a right-handed pitcher in the series finale against the Brewers and threw a shot at Ethier's effort. The Los Angeles Times quoted Mattingly saying in a pregame radio interview that he wanted to put on the field a team "that's going to fight and compete the whole day."

He presumably means Scott Van Slyke would go out and compete more than Ethier.

Problem Positions Not Addressed, Depth Ignored

Colletti didn't address positions that were gaping holes for the Dodgers. Even before Hanley Ramirez went down with an injury, the infield was hanging on a thread. The third base spot is a rotating spot of players who just can't hit.

Mark Ellis has been an injury-prone player his entire career, only playing 135 games twice in his career. As he moves from the mid-30s into his late-30s, it only gets worse.

The depth at shortstop has already been well-documented. All glove, no bat Justin Sellers got a chance but then the Dodgers brought up hot-hitting Dee Gordon from Class AAA Albuquerque to see if he could replicate those numbers at the big league level.

Gordon has responded by hitting even worse than Sellers in nearly as many plate appearances. And with questionable defense.

Firing Either Won't Turn the Season Around On Its Own

Firing Mattingly or firing Colletti won't change the season. Bringing in a new manager won't turn Matt Kemp's power back on or make Ethier start raking. It won't speed up Greinke's arm strength after a stint on the disabled list.

Kenley Jansen won't turn into the Kenley Jansen of the past few seasons and the rest of the struggling bullpen won't improve just with a new skipper.

I wrote before some things that could help turn around this season for the Dodgers. Firing Mattingly or Colletti was not on the list. But given Colletti's track record, it could help in future seasons if someone else was making personnel decisions.

Matthew Reichbach is a freelance writer and lifelong follower of the Dodgers from their minor league affiliates to the major league club.

You can follow Matthew on Twitter at @3_2count.

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