Manager Don Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti appeared awfully frosty at an end-of-the-season news conference for the Los Angeles Dodgers staged a little over two weeks ago. During the conversation with reporters, Mattingly even made comments indicating he was frustrated because his contract ran only through the 2014 season. Around that time, the Dodgers announced that bench coach Trey Hillman, also one of Mattingly's closest friends, would not return to his post. The world was left wondering: After reaching the National League Championship Series, were Donnie Baseball and the Dodgers heading for splitsville?
Not yet, ESPN Los Angeles reports. The Dodgers are discussing a new multiyear contract with Mattingly and, sources say, there's optimism on both sides an agreement will be reached. Team president Stan Kasten and Mattingly's agent (yes, managers have them sometimes) would not comment. That must mean they're talking, right?
While Mattingly's comments initially caught the organization off guard, support for him remained strong, Dodgers sources have indicated. Mattingly had been so low key about his situation during the season, it was unclear how frustrated he had become, according to sources.
Mattingly has maintained a good relationship with Dodgers chairman Mark Walter, sources indicated. And while Kasten generally deferred questions about Mattingly's contract to the offseason, he publicly praised him several times throughout the season, even as the Dodgers stumbled out of the gates and fell 9½ games out of first place on June 21.
Kasten praises Mattingly. Walter and Mattingly maintain "a good relationship." It might not mean anything, but one guy omitted from those equations is Colletti. If he'd rather have someone else running the team, as the GM, he should be allowed to make a change. Despite the success the Dodgers had in 2013, and though it's obvious most of the players get along great with Mattingly, there have been questionable tactics used on Mattingly's part. Ultimately, Colletti's job security depends (at least in part) on how well the field manager performs. If things go awry for himself, Colletti might look upon this moment as when it all started to slip away. Then again, when it comes to Mattingly, perhaps Kasten and Walter are saving Colletti from himself.