Mattingly has high praise for Schumaker as successor

October 26th, 2022

MIAMI -- It's a passing of the baton of sorts in the Marlins' dugout.

Skip Schumaker, who was named the club's manager on Tuesday afternoon, played for Don Mattingly's 2013 Dodgers. Mattingly, of course, was the longest-tenured and winningest skipper in Marlins franchise history until mutually parting ways after seven years.

Schumaker, 42, spent 11 Major League seasons with the Cardinals, Dodgers and Reds from 2005-15. He slashed .263/.332/.332 in 125 games as a 33-year-old utility man for Mattingly in Los Angeles, which won the National League West title and reached the NL Championship Series in '13.

"A guy that was always ready, like no matter what," Mattingly told "This guy knew how to play. You could tell he had been well-schooled. He had a good feeling for the game. Really good teammate. A lot of good stuff."

Following his playing career, Schumaker served as an assistant to baseball operations and player development for the Padres from 2016-17, then joined the field staff as the first-base coach ('18-19) and associate manager ('20-21). Schumaker was the Cardinals' bench coach in '22.

The climb up the ladder has been a quick one for Schumaker, seven years removed from retirement.

"Always thought that Skip was going to be a good coach," said Mattingly, who would catch up with Schumaker when their teams crossed paths. "Didn't know he had aspirations to manage, but seeing him in the bench-coach [role] over the last couple of years, you had a feeling that he was heading in that direction."

Mattingly's first memory of Schumaker came during the former fifth-round pick's time with St. Louis, an organization that preaches the "Cardinals Way" of being fundamentally sound. That upbringing showed up in Schumaker's game. It is paying off in his post-playing career.

Mattingly's lasting memory of Schumaker is of his rapport with fellow veteran Nick Punto on that Los Angeles club. Mattingly compared them to "oil and water" because of their back-and-forth banter.

"Skip was always just one of those guys that was always paying attention," Mattingly said. "Obviously, some good teams out there. When I was coaching, you can tell the guys that are students of the game, that they're paying attention. They're watching everything that's happening, they're on the bench, they're never unprepared. Anytime you need them, they're ready to go."

Mattingly, whose first managerial job was with the Dodgers in 2011, remembers the learning curve. It involved everything from planning ahead for the pitching to building a relationship with the general manager. Schumaker will experience that in 2023.

"He's going to be great," said Mattingly, who was in transit but planned to reach out to Schumaker. "I think the people of Miami will like him. He'll do a great job. He's going to be good."