What's next for Marlins after Mattingly's tenure?

September 26th, 2022

With Don Mattingly not returning in 2023, the Marlins will begin a managerial search for the first time in eight years.

Below is a helpful breakdown of what we know so far:

With nine games remaining, why now?
Mattingly, general manager Kim Ng and chairman/principal owner Bruce Sherman revealed that there had been multiple conversations about Mattingly's future before Sunday's announcement. Naturally, those began as the club struggled in the second half and Mattingly's expiring contract was winding down.

"I felt like we came out of Spring Training, we felt good about our club, and it just didn't work," Mattingly said. "So I really didn't want to think about this decision. I wanted to push it aside, do my job, be ready to go every day, try to get us to play the best baseball we could. And over time, it just comes to the surface."

Added Ng: "I don't know that there's ever a good day for this type of thing. In order for Don to also say goodbye to people, it's hard to do the day after the season. So today was fine, and tomorrow's an off-day, and I think it gives everyone a little bit of a chance to breathe."

What's next for Mattingly?
The 61-year-old plans to go home to Evansville, Ind., and spend time with his family like he does every offseason. 

"You follow your heart, not try to force anything, see what happens with you, see how you're feeling, and then going from there," Mattingly said. "I know I feel great. My mind still works. Some of you guys might argue that plenty of times, but I feel like my mind works good. My body feels great. Still feel good, so I don't want to go sit on the couch, that's for sure."

Previous ownership had Hall of Famers Tony Pérez and Andre Dawson as well as "Mr. Marlin" Jeff Conine serve as special assistants in the front office. Might Mattingly be brought back in an advisory role?

"I think if something that made sense presented itself, that could be a possibility," Ng said. "Donnie's a great baseball guy."

What happens with the rest of the coaches?
The organization hadn't gotten as far as determining their future since conversations focused on Mattingly, according to Ng. One member of the staff Miami will try its best to retain is pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., but it won't be easy, because his successful four-year tenure will put him in demand. That's not to mention he worked the 2021 season with prostate cancer and calls Idaho his offseason home. But Stottlemyre shares a special bond with ace Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López and Trevor Rogers, all of whom he has helped develop into formidable pitchers.

"I don't think you have to pitch that," Mattingly said. "I guess fortunate thing for Mel and unfortunate thing for the organization, Mel's probably going to have options. He's done a tremendous job. You see the guys respond to him, and just a tremendous worker. This guy works, and he studies, and he's just relentless on his pitchers, and them getting better, and how do we get better? No matter if it's Sandy, it's how do we get him better? It doesn't matter. I think they know what they have with Mel."

What sort of profile will the Marlins seek in their new manager?
Mattingly brought up a good point on Sunday: Ng deserves a chance to pick her skipper, furthering the direction she wants the club to go.

While Major League experience is important, it won't be a prerequisite. Ng believes managers can have an effect on the outcome of games, though there's debate in the industry concerning how much. Trends seem to point toward younger and more analytically driven candidates. Could that be the case here?

"In terms of what we're looking for, what I can say is that we're looking for someone to help build a culture in which we are relentlessly putting ourselves in a position to win every night," Ng said. "So obviously there are a lot of layers to that. Through the vetting process, through the interview process, we'll get deeper."

Veteran shortstop and unofficial captain Miguel Rojas believes the manager must be the right fit for the organization, which includes an understanding of the farm system.

"For me, the guy who's going to be in charge, I'm pretty sure it's going to be baseball people with a lot of experience -- not just in baseball, but with the young generation, too," Rojas said. "We have a lot of young players in this game, and the analytics department and all the changes that are coming next year. So I'm pretty sure that Kim, Bruce and the people from the organization are going to do a great job bringing someone in."

How soon do the Marlins want to name a manager?
Once the postseason starts on Oct. 7, clubs usually leave their announcements for off-days or after the World Series, which could go through Nov. 5. The Winter Meetings begin on Dec. 4 in San Diego, so the new skipper should have been around before then to be part of the Hot Stove plan.

"We'd want somebody in as soon as possible to help get to know the players to help with our offseason," Ng said. "But I will say that this is a really big decision for the organization, and so we have to make sure we take our time over the next however many weeks. We're going to be vetting and interviewing quite a number of candidates. We'll just make sure we take our time for this big one."

Will there be changes elsewhere?
Ng confirmed there will be evaluations up and down the organization after a disappointing 2022 season.

"I think that the record is not indicative of the talent that we have on this club, and I think we've got to do a lot of introspection in terms of our processes and our operations on how we fix that," Ng said. "But I'm still optimistic about what we've got here."