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.”
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.
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.