Will Mattingly’s non-contract extension be a distraction?

Former Dodger manager Joe Torre finally weighed in on the Dodgers reluctance to offer current Dodger manager Don Mattingly a contract extension prior to the start of this, the third and final year of Mattingly’s three-year contract.

Is Ned Colletti’s and (more likely) Stan Kasten’s decision to hold off on Mattingly’s contract extension going to be a distraction for the team? Not according to Mattingly.

“It can be part of the noise, but I’m not going to be a distraction to this club,” said Mattingly at the Dodgers spring training facility on Wednesday morning. “I’ve always considered myself part of the solution, not part of the problem. I’m not going to be an issue.”

Dodger manager Don Mattingly insists that not being offer a contract extension will not be a distraction to his team. (Photo credit - Garrett Nichols)

Dodger manager Don Mattingly insists that not being offered a contract extension prior to the beginning of the 2013 season will not be a distraction to his team. (Photo credit – Garrett Nichols)

Yet Mattingly’s former boss and future Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre begs to differ.

“I think it would give them an air of security,” Torre said. “The more positive a team is, the better chance they have of doing things. I think it would help.”

And then, of course, there are the people who sign Mattingly’s paycheck.

“We want to go to the World Series,” said Dodgers part owner Magic Johnson recently. “If we don’t accomplish that, yes, it is not a good season for us.”

I certainly don’t want to read too much into Magic’s comment, but it pretty much sounds like, should the Dodgers fail to make the World Series (or at least the playoffs), some heads may roll – and that usually means the manager and/or general manager.

Now don’t get me wrong, I honestly believe that the entire Guggenheim Baseball Management group really like Mattingly and are not unhappy with him in any way, but if Mattingly doesn’t lead the 2013 Dodgers into the promised land after they spent $600 million to give him some of the best tools in the game today, you can bet that Mattingly’s future with the Dodgers will be in serious jeopardy.

Ironically, a near identical situation is unfolding right down the I-5 as well. Angels owner Arte Moreno has also invested heavily over the past two off-seasons to give Angels manager Mike Scioscia the best available players as well. And though Scioscia is under contract through the 2018 season (evidence of how a long-term contract extension to a manager can strangle a team), there is nothing to prevent Scioscia from being fired before his contract expires; something that I absolutely believe will happen if the Angels get off to a slow start again this season as they did last season, and most certainly if the Angels fail to make the playoffs. There is plenty of corroboration that current Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia do not always see eye to eye and have been known to occasionally disagree (sometimes heatedly) on things.

It's no secret that Angels manager Mike scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto have been known to strongly disagree on things from time to time. (Photo credit - Kyle Terada)

It’s no secret that Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto have been known to strongly disagree on things from time to time. (Photo credit – Kyle Terada)

And while I don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse, if both teams fail to make the playoffs, both managers could be looking for work in 2014 (although I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the Dodgers make a run at Scioscia should that happen).

With all of this said, I would much rather see Don Mattingly hoisting the 2013 World Series trophy and be rewarded with a new contract for 2014 (and beyond) than seeing Mike Scioscia in a Dodger uniform again, if you get my drift.

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5 Responses to “Will Mattingly’s non-contract extension be a distraction?”

  1. OKDODGERFAN says:

    I’ve seen a lot of people complain about Donnie Baseball and his love of the bunt. I personally like Mattingly and think he’s done a great job for the most part. My wife thinks I like him because of all the hair he has but that’s another story.

    I think Donnie has a way with his players and can keep control in a clubhouse that’s probably gonna get a little chaotic over the course of the year. He can get a little emotional too, which I like.

    Mike Scioscia? No thanks.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      Having had the opportunity to spend time with Mattingly during some of his pre and post game interviews last season, I came to know him a lot better and he really is a great guy. As expected, he toes the company line, but he also comes across as being very sincere and it is very apparent that his players think very highly of him. The so-called “chemistry” is definitely already present between he and his players, which can only bode well for success.

      I suspect that should the Dodgers struggle during the season (and they undoubtedly will at some point), the players will feel the added pressure on their manager’s shoulders. Hopefully it will help them stay focused and playing up to their abilities.

      I sure hope that the Dodgers can string together several extended winning streaks in 2013 (like 8+ games); something that they failed miserably at doing in 2012. Losing streaks absent winning streaks = failure.

  2. OldBrooklynFan says:

    I’m sure the Dodger ownership sees it the same way you do Ron, It looks like there is a lot of confidence that the team should go very far in the postseason, even to the World Series.
    So, I’m sure it looks like if the team fails again this year there will be changes made to management.
    I think this season will be a lot different than it has been recently, especially under Frank McCourt who seened always satified with the team’s accomplishments.
    I don’t think Mattingly’s non contract extention will be a distraction for him but the pressure on him will somehow be felt by us all, if the Dodgers don’t acchieve what is expected by management and many of the fans.

  3. Bluenose Dodger says:

    I expect they think about contracts but still perform to the best of their abilities. I also expect for the team, if the manger is extended, it may well help the players to have even more confidence as they see stability with the team. A manager with an extended contract perhaps is less hesitant to make bold moves because his job doesn’t hinge on a mistake.

  4. MFGRREP says:

    What about a performance contract ? Make the playoff’s get a year, make the WS get 2 years, win the WS get 3 years ?? Just a thought !!

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