On Wednesday the Los Angeles Dodgers honored Veterans Day by hosting an estimated 300 service members and their families at Dodger Stadium for batting practice.
Along with Dodgers legend Don Newcombe, Kenley Jansen was among those in attendance. The Dodgers’ closer discussed the importance of honoring those who serve the country, and also touched on Don Mattingly’s separation from the Dodgers.
“You’ve got to trust what Andrew [Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations] and Farhan [Zaidi, general manager] are doing because that’s what they’re here for,” Jansen said.
“I’m pretty confident they’re going to bring someone in who’s going to fit with the locker room, step up to make this team even better and motivate us even more.” In five seasons as manager of the Dodgers, Mattingly was 446-363 (.551).
He guided them to three consecutive National League West division titles — a first in franchise history — and also three straight seasons with at least 90 wins for the first time since 1976-78.
However, the Dodgers were 8-11 in the postseason during Mattingly’s tenure and never advanced beyond the National League Championship Series. For Jansen, Mattingly is the manager he’s spent the majority of his career playing for.
“It’s bittersweet because I only played one year under Joe [Torre, former Dodgers manager], and then spent my whole career under Donnie,” said Jansen after stating he understands the business aspect of the decision.
“For me, Donnie was always good. He understood as a person who I am and he always helped keep me positive. That’s one big thing I had with him. I always could be myself with Donnie. I understand the organization’s decision. I understand for Donnie, too. I’m happy for him that he’s with Miami now.”
Jansen said he and Mattingly had a long discussion, and added the need to push forward. “We’re still here for one thing and that’s to win a championship. I’m pretty confident in what Andrew and Farhan are doing,” he said.
At the time speaking prior to the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner being announced, Jansen backed Zack Greinke. “I’m still going to root for Zack. No disrespect to [Jake] Arrieta, but to me Zack Greinke’s ERA, I don’t think passed 1.90 the entire season,” Jansen said.
“What he accomplished, especially when Kersh wasn’t the Kershaw we all know he is, for Greinke to take over was big for us. It’s going to be a tough decision but to me, it should go to Zack.” Arrieta went on to win the Cy Young, with Greinke finishing in second place and Kershaw in third.
As for Mattingly, he received one third-place vote and finished tied for fifth with San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy for Manager of the Year voting, which went to Joe Maddon of the Cubs.
Mattingly now heads to manage the Marlins, who signed the 54 year old to a four-year contract. The first meeting between the Dodgers and Marlins is April 25, 2016 at Dodger Stadium.