Don Mattingly Is Deserving of Contract Extension with LA Dodgers

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Don Mattingly Is Deserving of Contract Extension with LA Dodgers
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have gone from 12 games below .500 to 12 games over in less than two months. 

And if you blame manager Don Mattingly for the club's early struggles, then you have to credit the third-year boss for the Dodgers' remarkable turnaround. 

According to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi, Mattingly revealed on Tuesday that the team's president, Stan Kasten met with him toward the end of May and spoke to him about a potential coaching change if the team didn't start churning out more wins. 

It's safe to say that Kasten and the rest of the Dodgers' front office are now wondering why they ever doubted Mattingly, who's in the final year of his current contract, which includes an option for 2014. 

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But to say that the 52-year-old is deserving of a long-term extension simply because of L.A.'s scorching-hot two-month stretch would be foolish. Sure, the Dodgers' 32-8 run over their past 40 games is impressive, but it pales in comparison to the consistent improvement the club has been making since Mattingly signed on as manager.

Unlike L.A.'s troubling start to 2013, the team's recent surge under Mattingly shouldn't be all that surprising. After all, the former New York Yankees star has done nothing but win since taking over as manager before the 2011 season.

After finishing two games below .500 in Joe Torre's last season in 2010, the Dodgers finished three games above .500 (82-79) in Mattingly's first year. 

In Mattingly's second year in 2012, L.A. improved by four games, finishing 10 games above .500 (86-76) and second in the NL West division. 

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Don Mattingly's decision to call up Yasiel Puig from the minors has been a huge part of L.A.'s turnaround this season.

Then there's this season. With 50 games left to play, the Dodgers find themselves five games up on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the division and just six games back of Pittsburgh and Atlanta for the best record in the National League.

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L.A. can go 25-25 over its final 50 games and still finish with a better record than the year prior for the third straight time under Mattingly

Not only does L.A. look poised to make the postseason for the first time since 2009 this fall, but Mattingly's Dodgers appear to be a World Series contender. Only Atlanta and Detroit are playing better baseball at the moment. 

The club is delivering on both sides of the ball. The Dodgers' pitching staff ranks fourth in the majors in team ERA (3.43) and sixth in the majors in team batting average (.264). 

If L.A. continues to roll this summer and into September, the Dodgers will have no choice but to ink Mattingly to a long-term contract extension. 

  

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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