In final year of contract, Mattingly looks ahead

Marlins skipper 'not really worrying' about job security, focused on club's future

December 10th, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- From the bottom up, the Marlins are committed to building for the future. But beyond the 2019 season, the status of manager Don Mattingly remains unclear.

Mattingly is entering the fourth and final year of his contract, and there are no current negotiations for an extension.

"No talks about anything moving forward," Mattingly said on Monday during his media session at the Winter Meetings. "And I think my situation is not really important, to be quite honest with you. Just more concerned about what we're doing. Again, building this thing. I'm kind of at a point, old enough, where I'm not really worrying about what's happening next."

Although there is nothing in the works for an extension, there are indications the Marlins would like to retain Mattingly beyond 2019. But that is a decision that will be addressed at a later date.

A consummate professional, Mattingly is considered a calming influence with an impressive track record as a player and a manager. Miami is looking for those qualities to help mold and develop a young club. In Mattingly's first three seasons with the Marlins, they are 219-265 (.452).

Hired by former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria after the 2015 season, the organization changed ownership in '17, with a group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter taking over. A mandate was made after the '17 season to break up the previous core of players and look to restock the system. That process began in June 2017, and since then, more than a dozen trades were made that brought in more than 30 new players.

Working with a roster that featured more than 20 rookies in 2018, the Marlins finished 63-98 to claim last place in the National League East.

Prior to joining the Marlins, Mattingly managed the Dodgers for five seasons, from 2011-15. He guided Los Angeles to three straight NL West titles.

The Marlins rounded out Mattingly's staff last week by hiring Mel Stottlemyre Jr. as pitching coach, Trey Hillman as first-base/infield coach, Jeff Livesey as assistant hitting coach and Kevin Barr as strength and conditioning coach.

"I like it here," Mattingly said. "I want to be a part of what we're doing and building it. But, again, I'm just kind of at a point where I'm pretty comfortable with myself, where I'm at."

Along with his own status, Mattingly addressed a wide range of topics on Monday.

• Thoughts on J.T. Realmuto and how he is handling rumors he might be traded: "He knows how much we like him and what we think about him. He's handling everything fine. J.T.'s a tough kid. He's a big-time leader. It's why we love him. It's why a lot of teams love him."

• Thoughts on the new staff: "We're really comfortable with the staff we've put together, and I think we're going to get solid baseball guys that are on both sides of understanding what you have to understand today -- today's game from the numbers, analytics, being able to use that in your teaching, to also being guys that have a lot of just experience within the game and teaching and have worked on a lot of different areas within the organization. So really comfortable with that."

• Reaction to Harold Baines and Lee Smith being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday night: "When you see Harold, played 22 years or something like that, and you end up with a pile of numbers that grow and grow, you know, I think Harold had 2,800 hits. I hit [2,153] … I just didn't play long enough, wasn't able to stay healthy long enough to really put that pile of numbers together. So there was a period of time that I could hit with anybody and do things on the field at my position and with the bat that nobody was doing."

• The closer decision between right-hander or lefty : "I see it more now not as a closer, but kind of what we've been doing at the end of the year. With Adam and Steck, we were able to match it up the way we wanted. We don't want to be walking into three out of four lefties, and say, 'Steck is our closer no matter what.' And then we're not in the right situation. The same goes for the eighth or the seventh."