The Los Angeles Dodgers won at least 90 games a third consecutive year and won a third straight division title for the first time in franchise history, but a first-round playoff exit again has manager Don Mattingly’s job status in question.
Mattingly faced scrutiny throughout the 2015 season, and was asked how the Game 5 loss in the National League Division Series would impact his chances to return with the club next season. “Seriously, you’re asking me that now?” he answered moments after detailing the frustration with being eliminated.
Several players in the Dodgers clubhouse that evening backed their manager. Mattingly didn’t come up empty at the plate or strand runners on base, they argued. During exit interviews on Friday, Clayton Kershaw gave Mattingly’s return his seal of approval in an interview with SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo:
I’m in Donnie’s corner, too. I love Donnie, known him for long time now, played for him and Joe [Torre]. Those are the only two managers I’ve played for. Obviously I have a ton of respect for him. It would be good to have him back as well.”
Mattingly was on Joe Torre’s staff with the New York Yankees, and joined him in Los Angeles. He took the reins from Joe Torre after the 2010 season, and increased the Dodgers’ win total in his first four years as manager.
Los Angeles finished with 92 wins this season, falling two shy of tying their 2014 mark. Mattingly survived a front office overhaul last year, which is atypical when a new executive and/or general manager is introduced.
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi had high praise prior to the NLDS beginning for Mattingly’s ability to create cohesion in the clubhouse, attention to detail, and work ethic. But, whether that’s enough to translate to the manager returning with the Dodgers, who are held to World Series expectations year in and year out, isn’t guaranteed.
Should Mattingly become available, it’s been reported the Miami Marlins would be interested in hiring him as their manager.