MIAMI -- Don Mattingly wants to be part of a Marlins turnaround and remain manager in 2020 and beyond.
That decision has yet to be made, but chief executive officer Derek Jeter said on Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park that he plans on addressing Mattingly’s status before this season ends.
“To be fair to Donnie, it's something that we need to talk about sooner rather than later,” Jeter said. “We have touched base, and we'll continue to talk.”
Winding down on his four-year contract, Mattingly made it clear he would like to stay. But, he added, only if he’s wanted.
“I'd love to be back, especially if they want you back,” Mattingly said. “You don't want to be anywhere that you don't feel like it's the best situation. You don't want to get in the way of anything. If they think they want to go in [another] direction, then that's something you just deal with at the time.”
Mattingly and Jeter spoke to the media on Wednesday prior to Miami’s game against the Dodgers.
Mattingly’s status is one of the major issues the Marlins must address heading into the offseason. Mattingly, 58, agreed to a four-year deal to manage the Marlins in October 2015, when Jeffrey Loria was owner. In his first two seasons, he had more veteran rosters that included All-Stars like Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
The 2016 team had promise, but the season ended in tragedy when All-Star pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.
For the past two seasons, the Marlins have been building from the Minor Leagues on up, with the big league roster filled with many inexperienced players.
“There hasn't been a decision yet,” Jeter said. “We were so focused on getting through the Trade Deadline and seeing what we can do.”
After the 2017 season, a year in which Stanton belted a franchise-record 59 home runs on his way to being named the National League Most Valuable Player, the Marlins were sold to the ownership group fronted by Bruce Sherman and Jeter. The franchise went into a rebuilding direction, dealing its high-profile players.
“Obviously, there was a little bit of a bump in the road in the middle of [my tenure],” Mattingly said. “With the ownership change, and obviously we turned the roster over, and went in a different direction. It's something we'll talk about and see where it goes, where the organization wants to go.”
The Marlins entered Wednesday night with a 44-74 record, and they are 263-339 under Mattingly.
“Sometimes you have to take into consideration, when an organization, when a team is at this point, I think it's very easy for the fans, it's very easy for media to look at wins and losses, and that's how they evaluate the job that someone is doing,” Jeter said. “There's a lot of things that go into it.
“Donnie has done a good job. But then again, we've got to sit down, like we do with coaches every year as well, and ask, 'How can we get better?'”
Despite sporting the worst record in the National League, Marlins players have responded to Mattingly and his staff. They give strong effort, and they have shown improvement with an undermanned roster.
The Marlins split a four-game series with the NL East-leading Braves last weekend at Marlins Park. After Sunday’s game, Braves manager Brian Snitker praised Miami’s effort.
“We've said all along, their arms are really, really good,” Snitker said. “There are some young talented guys there, too, that have skills. The tools play here. As they get older, learn things, you got tools, you've got a chance with some guys.”
Whatever direction the organization goes, Mattingly said he will accept it.
“I've talked about it from the very beginning,” Mattingly said. “I'm comfortable with whatever happens and whatever way it goes. I've said all along, this is a place I've come to hopefully help turn this thing around and getting it going in the right direction.”