Don Mattingly Will Reportedly Return to Manage Dodgers in 2014

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Don Mattingly Will Reportedly Return to Manage Dodgers in 2014

So much for Don Mattingly being a dead man walking.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, both Mattingly's agent, Ray Schulte, and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Stan Kasten have given confirmation the manager will be back for 2014.

Per Hernandez:

Don Mattingly will manage the Dodgers next season.

“I always thought that,” team President Stan Kasten said. “Absolutely.”

Kasten’s comments were made Wednesday after Mattingly’s agent, Ray Schulte, said Mattingly intended to honor his contract.

[...]

“I’ve always been a big supporter of his,” Kasten said.

Schulte said Mattingly is still looking for a multiyear deal. While Kasten declined to address that prospect directly, he said, “I’m anticipating a happy ending.”

The Dodgers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS after finishing with a 92-70 record in the regular season and winning the National League West by 11 games. Los Angeles pushed the No. 1 seed in the NL to six games, which is pretty impressive considering where the team has been in recent years.

Despite the success of 2013, there was some speculation that Mattingly wouldn't be returning for next season.

Los Angeles fired bench coach Trey Hillman, a move that some saw as a precursor to Mattingly's exit (h/t ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne).

That followed what was a rather testy press conference with the manager on Monday. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com wrote:

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said his 2014 option vested when Los Angeles beat Atlanta in the National League Division Series, but that doesn't mean he'll return.

Hurt by ownership's refusal to pick up that $1.4 million option a year ago, which Mattingly said made him a lame duck in the clubhouse, Mattingly emphasized that he "doesn't want to be somewhere he's not wanted."

[...]

Mattingly hinted that he not only needed a multiple-year contract to lift the lame-duck status, but assurances from owners that they trust his ability. His original contract was guaranteed for three years.

"It puts me in a spot where everything I do is questioned. Because I'm basically trying out, auditioning to say, `Can you manage a team or not manage?' It's a tough spot. To me, it gets to that point where three years in you either know or you don't," Mattingly said.

Shelburne tried to offer a little more clarity to the situation on Wednesday evening, before news broke about Mattingly staying after all.

Last season was Mattingly's third since taking over for Joe Torre in 2011. The Dodgers' win totals have been steadily increasing since that time.

Under Torre in 2010, L.A. finished 80-82. That improved to 82 wins when the former New York Yankees first baseman took over, and he followed up with 86 wins in 2012 and then 92 this year.

It's good that Los Angeles is getting this out of the way now, if only because the quicker the Dodgers can resolve their managerial dilemma, the quicker they can focus on personnel decisions, like re-signing Clayton Kershaw to a long-term deal and replacing a lot of veterans who will become free agents at the end of the season, such as Carlos Marmol, J.P. Howell, Brian Wilson and Juan Uribe.

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