Who should replace Mattingly?

Let me preface all of this by saying that over the past two seasons I have come to know Dodger manager Don Mattingly rather well through my time spent in the Dodger clubhouse and dugout and I really like the guy. I like the way that he supports his players and respect that he toes the company line – whether I agree with it or not. Mattingly is always polite, friendly and usually very open and honest with the media – although I did hear him once say (and I quote): “That was just bullshit,” when asked about something he once told us – but he did so jokingly and with a smile on his face.

One has to believe that it is no longer a matter of if Mattingly will be fired, but when. (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

One has to believe that it is no longer a matter of if Mattingly will be fired, but when.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

But the bottom line is that barring an absolute miracle, Mattingly will most likely be gone before the July 31 trade deadline, this in spite of reassurances from Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten that Mattingly’s job is safe. (Is it just me or does it seem that these reassurances aren’t quite as frequent as they used to be?). I don’t say this because Mattingly is incapable as a major league manager, I say this because Mattingly is inexperienced as a major league manager.

Oh sure, some may argue that two and a half seasons as a MLB manager is more than enough experience, but in my opinion, two and a half seasons as an unsuccessful MLB manager makes you anything but an experienced manager – and Mattingly has been anything but successful. In fact, according to Howard Cole of LA Weekly, Mattingly will enter Friday night’s game with a career managerial record of 198-196 (.502) – the worst winning percentage for a Dodger manager since Burleigh Grimes in 1938 (.434).

With that being said and with the painful reality that Don Mattingly’s days are undoubtedly numbered as the Dodger manager, who should replace him?

My first choice is the guy who should have been given the job to begin with when Joe Torre stepped down in 2010 – Tim Wallach. Talk about a guy who has paid his dues, since retiring from the game after an outstanding 17-year MLB playing career, Wallach has been a minor league manager and major league coach for a combined 16 years. To be brutally honest, Tim Wallach has forgotten more about coaching and managing that Don Mattingly will ever know; and when he was snubbed by Frank McCourt and Ned Colletti for the job in favor of Mattingly (which was clearly nothing more than a publicity move), it was among one of the greatest travesties and injustices in Dodger franchise history.

My second choice to replace Mattingly would be former MLB manager and current MLB Network Radio and DodgerTalk Radio co-host Kevin Kennedy, who came up through the Dodger farm system as a catcher and served as both a minor league manager in the Dodger organization and as a major league manager for the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. Kevin’s low-key personality and his extremely analytical mind would make him an excellent choice for the position.

Dodger bench coach Trey Hillman is yet another option to replace Mattingly and very well may do so on an interim basis if/when Mattingly gets the ax. Not only does Hillman have MLB experience as a former manager with the Kansas City Royals, he also managed in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league.

While many longtime Dodger fans are clamoring for the Guggenheim Baseball Management group to hire current Angel manager (and former Dodger) Mike Scioscia to replace Mattingly, would this be a wise choice? Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a huge Mike Scioscia fan, but is replacing one struggling manager with another a wise move? And this does not even take into consideration that Scioscia is under contract with the 33-40 fourth place Angels until 2018. That said, it is no secret that Scioscia and Angel general manager Jerry Dipoto do not see eye-to-eye on many things, so the Angels may be willing to eat Scioscia’s contract to get rid of him.

It's no secret that Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto disagree on many things. (Photo credit - Kyle Terada)

Although Angels manager Mike Scioscia is loved by many Dodger fans, would he be the best choice to replace Mattingly? (Photo credit – Kyle Terada)

Regardless of who gets the nod, I still believe that Ned Colletti is far more responsible for the current state of affairs with the Dodgers than is Mattingly and that if Mattingly gets canned, so too should Colletti; but that’s another story for another day.

So, if you were calling the shots who would be your choice to replace Mattingly as either the interim or permanent Dodger manager?

 

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21 Responses to “Who should replace Mattingly?”

  1. bigbluebird says:

    I think so long as you have Crawford and Kemp still on the DL it is premature to consider replacing him. I am as frustrated as anyone but he hasn’t had his full deck yet. Mattingly has not been my favorite for his management of the bullpen more than anything else and the constant manipulation of the lineup but he deserves a chance in my book to have at least Crawford and Kemp back before they consider switching him.

    While the lack of hitting with RISP has been a big part of the equation, the glaring failure is in the bullpen. Many of these games were lost in the late innings and should have been won but for the failure to hold. That to me that falls directly on the shoulders of Colletti who failed to appreciate the lack of depth and quality in the pen. Optioning Withrow just a few days ago when he started to finally show a spark at the MLB level in favor of Herrera is bizarre considering how many of these games have been lost in the pen. I don’t even want to get into whole Kevin-Gregg-where-are-you-now disaster (he has a sparkly .81 ERA and 10 Saves on a bad Cubs team).

    I would imagine that there will be some movement to shore up the pen before the trade deadline and Crawford and Kemp will most certainly have played by then. If he can’t create a spark and put wins on the board with a great lineup, then it is time.

    • bigbluebird says:

      BTW, if we are looking at candidates, I would steal one of the disciples of Dave Duncan in the St. Louis organization. It amazes me how they always seen to have this everlasting source of good young arms and their reclamation projects are famous. Even after Duncan left, they still have his philosophy firmly entrenched in the organization.

  2. lindav says:

    Brett Butler comes to mind – has done a remarkable job with the Reno Aces and think he has been overlooked because of prior health issues. Even though part of the D’backs now, he’s still a Dodger in my mind.

  3. MFGRREP says:

    I would have to go with Kennedy first, because I think he could do more for the team managing the bullpen during the game. I also think he can motivate at the right tone needed to make change happen and he would garner the most respect from the players. Wallach is my second choice and I would have no problem if he were to be selected. I fear though he’s too mild manored and at this level he might not be best suited for a large market team and I question if he can manage a pitching staff like the Dodgers?

    In conclusion, I think Mattingly needs this team to step it up and produce now if he’s going to save his job. And I hope that if a change does happen that Colletti be included in that house cleaning.

  4. OldBrooklynFan says:

    I really don’t blame Mattingly for the present state of the team and I can’t see how both he and Colletti can both be at fault. One of them maybe but not both. Since the question was asked, I always liked Kevin Kennedy to get a chance to manage the Dodgers but I think it will be difficult task for anyone until the team starts performing better.

  5. ebbetsfld says:

    In my opinion Ned should get the axe before Mattingly. And, I like Ned! The simple fact is that Donnie hasn’t been given the pieces with which to win a championship. The bull pen is deplorable, and if Ned is not at fault for this, then Honeycutt takes the blame. The injuries may be an act of G-d, but if the problem is with the training staff, then it was Ned who brought in Stan Conte who apparently calls the shots even if he’s not visible.
    If Teflon Ned avoids dismissal once again, and Donnie Baseball pays the price, my first choice would be Wallach as he’s been on the field, knows the players, and appears to command their respect. While Kennedy may have the credentials from past experience, he’s currently a broadcaster and the most recent example of a broadcaster’s success in coming down from the booth to manage has the initials of Bobby Valentine, and we all know how that worked out!

  6. bigbluebird says:

    Okay. I retract all previous pleas for patience. After last night’s effort losing again to the Padres with Kershaw on the mound, I say “fire them all!” Dodgers on track to worst record since moving to LA.

  7. RC says:

    After having seen the lineups that Donnie has had to throw out there night after night, I can’t blame him. I would like to see how this team plays with it’s varsity before I can the manager. If after Crawford and Kemp get back to full strength this team still flounders, then the firings should begin. I start with Colletti.

  8. michaelgreen327 says:

    The percentages among Dodger managers include that Burleigh Grimes’s predecessor also had a winning percentage under .500. His name was Casey Stengel. Therefore, by this argument, Don Mattingly is a better manager than Casey Stengel was. Is he? I doubt it. Nor do I want anyone saying that I am saying so. What I AM saying is that these percentages don’t mean much. If you took Walter Alston’s winning percentage from 1967 and 1968, you’d conclude that he was incompetent. I guess he had nothing to do with the seven pennants and four World Series wins. But, then again, the worst field strategist I’ve ever seen as a manager is in the Hall of Fame for 20 years with the Dodgers and two World Series wins–the same guy whose team lost 99 games in 1992.

    The point is, would the Dodgers be in any different shape with a different manager? I don’t see how. Do the Dodgers have a legitimate leadoff man? The requisite defensive shortstop? A bench? A bullpen? No. But I’ll tell you what they do have: a general manager who used to be in the media and appears to be very talented at keeping those who cover the Dodgers from noticing that Frank McCourt DID have the money for him to sign Jason Schmidt and Juan Uribe, and that he is the general manager who gave us a bench that couldn’t beat a T-ball team.

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