Thursday, January 9, 2014
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Don Mattingly will be back as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers next season with a new three-year contract that takes him through 2016, quieting speculation that his future with the club was somehow in doubt.
A person familiar with the agreement, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized, said Mattingly is getting a raise from the $1.4 million he was to earn next season under his old deal. By comparison, Yankees manager Joe Girardi, entering his seventh season in New York, is starting a $16 million, four-year agreement after completing a $9 million, three-year deal.
Mattingly had sought the stability of a multiyear deal.
"I just want guys to know the organization has confidence in you is important to me as a manager," he said by phone from his offseason home in Evansville, Ind.
Mattingly has a 260-225 record in his first three seasons with the Dodgers, who reached the NL championship series this year, automatically triggering an extension of his contract that was set to expire at the end of last season.
He was runner-up for NL Manager of the Year last season.
Last winter, the Dodgers declined to exercise Mattingly's option for 2014, a move he believed portrayed him as a lame-duck in the clubhouse.
In an awkward October news conference after the Dodgers were eliminated by St. Louis in the playoffs, Mattingly said the organization put him in a difficult position by not exercising the option. The front office didn't clarify his status for 2014 that day, which frustrated Mattingly.
"I knew my contract had vested. I thought that at least that would have been said that day," he said. "It kind of got left open and that's what got me going a little bit. If I had to do all over again, I would have preferred it to be in-house. I wish I had kept it inside and dealt with it face-to-face with those guys."
The next day, the team didn't pick up the contract option of coach Trey Hillman, who was Mattingly's right-hand man on the bench.
Shortly thereafter, Mattingly spoke with majority owner Mark Walter and team president Stan Kasten, who let him know they wanted him back.
"I was comfortable with where it was going to go," Mattingly said. "I knew at that point we'd get something done."
General manager Ned Colletti said the deal was mostly done three weeks ago, but the club waited until after a flurry of offseason signings and the holidays ended to announce it.
"It's well-deserved," he said. "The traits of the man are really work ethic and making sure he can be as successful as he can be and not leaving anything per chance. That's one of the main reasons I hired him three years ago."
Mattingly began his career with the Dodgers in 2008 as a hitting coach under Joe Torre, who mentored Mattingly and endorsed him as a successor after Torre retired.
NOTES: Colletti has talked to the representative of star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and he said his camp is in a feeling-out process with all 30 MLB teams. The 30-day window to sign the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander ends on Jan. 24. ... The team has talked to the agent of NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who is eligible for free agency after next season. "It's our desire to sign him here for a very long time," Colletti said. ... CF Matt Kemp is out of the walking boot that was on his sprained left ankle at the end of last season, and he's starting to hit. The Dodgers expect him to be ready by the middle of spring training. ... Colletti would like to sign another infielder to give the team more versatility. ... INF Dee Gordon is playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. ... Pitchers Chad Billingsley and Scott Elbert won't return until midseason after recovering from Tommy John surgery.