Mattingly, Dodgers in talks for multiyear deal
Manager under contract for 2014 due to vesting club option for reaching NLCS
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers and Don Mattingly have talked about extending the manager's contract beyond 2014, according to a baseball source, but no deal is imminent.
The talks were first reported by ESPN Los Angeles.
Mattingly is under contract for 2014 because a club option vested when the Dodgers advanced to the National League Championship Series. Shortly after the club was eliminated in six games by the St. Louis Cardinals last month, Mattingly revealed that detail of the contract, but he also said that didn't mean he would be returning.
At that season-ending news conference, Mattingly also surprised club officials by complaining about managing the final season of his three-year deal as a lame duck and aired his frustration at a lack of support by unnamed members of ownership. Mattingly had asked that the club pick up the option a year earlier but was denied.
Implying he might not return was not a veiled threat by Mattingly that he would quit, but rather a way of addressing the uncertainty over whether the club would dismiss him because he has sought a multiyear contract, according to a baseball source.
Mattingly hinted that he not only needed a multiyear contract to lift the uncertainty he managed under in 2013, but assurances from owners that they trust his ability.
Following that news conference, Dodgers president Stan Kasten wouldn't go into Mattingly's future beyond the fact that "it never occurred to me that he wouldn't honor the contract. I absolutely always knew that."
Kasten has made no further comment about Mattingly. But management dismissed his bench coach, Trey Hillman.
The 52-year-old Mattingly, an iconic first baseman with the Yankees as a player, came to the Dodgers as a bench coach for Joe Torre and had been given a three-year contract to manage in Los Angeles even before Torre stepped aside at the end of the 2010 season.
The Dodgers finished third and second, respectively, in Mattingly's first two seasons in charge, which were hampered by ownership turmoil and a resulting frugal payroll.
This year, ownership gave Mattingly an expensive and talented roster and wanted to see what he could do with it before committing to him long term.
The season started with a wave of injuries. By mid-June, with the team in last place in the NL West and rumors of Mattingly's imminent dismissal circulating, the Dodgers unleashed what became the greatest in-season comeback in franchise history and one of the greatest in baseball history.
The Dodgers finished the season with a 92-70 record and won the NL West title by 11 games, the largest margin in Los Angeles history. The club defeated Atlanta, 3-1, in the NL Division Series before falling in the NLCS.
The Dodgers became the fourth club to finish in first place after being in last place on July 1 or later and the fourth team to win a division in a season in which it was at least 12 games below .500. They were the third team to rally from at least 9 1/2 games back to win by at least 10 games. Included in the comeback was a 42-8 run, the best 50-game stretch in franchise history, beginning on June 22.
At one point, the club won 15 consecutive road games -- becoming the first NL team to do so since 1957 -- and went unbeaten in 18 consecutive series.