Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly was unable to attend a news conference on Wednesday that announced a three-year contract extension for the former MVP. His absence was due to a snowstorm which struck his home in Indiana, preventing him from traveling.
General Manager Ned Colletti praised Mattingly’s managerial work, calling the last three years of the Dodgers organization “historic”. These comments were most likely made as an answer to a few complaints that Mattingly had of his contract and the owners of the club.
In an October news conference, Mattingly aired his frustration over managing the last year of his first three-year contract unsure if he would have a job at the end of the season. He had asked the club to pick up a 2014 option a year earlier but was denied.
This denial at first seemed justified with the Dodgers struggling immensely before the All-Star game break and key players either underperforming or injured. The Dodgers would go on to have the greatest in-season comeback in the history of the franchise, winning the NL West title by 11 games, the largest margin in Los Angeles history.
Mattingly will have an interesting 2014. He already has the talent and money to make the Dodgers a force in the NL West, the issue will be managing the egos of these players and keeping them focused throughout the season, such as breakout star Yasiel Puig. He proved last year that he can keep the clubhouse in a competitive spirit even with star players such as Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez injured.
His decisions have gathered some criticism, such as deciding to Clayton Kershaw to the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS series over Atlanta in spite of the mere three days rest the pitcher had. The thinking for the Dodgers staff is that they have a manger who knows how to win with the talent he has, is an excellent leader, and isn’t afraid to take risks.
Whether you agree with the gambling managerial style Mattingly has or not, he has earned his extension the old fashioned way: winning. Fans will expect nothing less and only time will tell if Mattingly can get his hands on that World Series title that eluded him throughout his playing days.
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