Let’s call this Ned’s resting bitch face, yeah?
We are less than two full days away from when the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs and the rumor mill is churning at full force. Probably the most absurd rumor I saw today was something about Puig going to the Cubs, or was it Puig eats seal cubs? Who knows? Regardless, anything about Puig that floats around the twittersphere is almost always ridiculous or not true, unless noted otherwise, then it’s just ridiculous.
The rumor that gained some traction and seemed to have had any kind of legitimacy to it had Ned Colletti on the hot stove. The world’s biggest hack, Bill Plaschke, got the pot stirring when he wrote that the Dodgers were eyeing Tampa Bay GM, Andrew Friedman, to replace Ned Colletti. As the day went on, the boiling pot of bullshit simmered, and we learned that Colletti is probably not going to go anywhere.
While I wouldn’t mind the Dodgers having someone like Friedman as GM, if he, or any other general manager were to replace Colletti, there would likely be changes to the staff as well. More specifically, we would probably see Mattingly heading out the door with Ned and that is a bad thing.
Don Mattingly took over as manager in 2011 after Joe Torre retired. During Torre’s last season as manager, the Dodgers finished 80-82. It was their first losing record in five years. The following season, Mattingly’s first season as manager, the Dodgers finished the regular season 82-79. It obviously wasn’t enough for a playoff berth, but don’t forget that he had to keep the players and the fans focused on the game while the McCourt divorce drama was plastering the headlines. In 2012, the Dodgers finished the season 86-76. Again, it wasn’t enough for a playoff berth, but there was no way the Dodgers were going to stop the red hot Giants of 2012 while Matt Kemp battled injuries. Hell, the fact that the 2012 Dodgers had a winning record with a lineup that had Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon, Luis Cruz, Shane Victorino, and James Loney, should give Donnie some credit. 2013 marked the return to the playoffs for the Dodgers. Though, at the beginning of the season, you wouldn’t have believed it, even if you were Don Mattingly. After an ugly start to 2013, the Dodgers went on a historic tear and went 42-8 from June 22 to August 17. Again, Mattingly showed his ability to keep the team’s focus on the field rather than on him. The Dodgers finished 92-70, won their first division title since 2009, and advanced to the NLCS since that same year. Their playoff run ended thanks to the Cardinals. Finally, during this last season, 2014, the Dodgers finished the regular season 94-68, their best record since 2009 (95-67). Beyond managing the Dodgers to a second consecutive NL West Division title and a second playoff appearance (that ended thanks to the Cardinals), Mattingly had to deal with an outfield logjam, an ego stricken Matt Kemp, a rotating cast of subpar pitchers, and a hodgepodge of could’a-been utility infielders. I doubt there could have been a more effective manager at the helm than Mattingly. In fact, according to various reports, Mattingly was responsible for calming down Matt Kemp, as well as helping both Kemp and Ethier transition into their roles in right field and the bench, respectively.
Although the Dodgers have not been able to get beyond the Cardinals in the playoffs, Mattingly has done a fantastic job managing the team. His in-game strategy is definitely a blemish on his tenure as manager, though, the questionable calls that he has made are decisions that would have been made by any other manager. In spite of these calls, the Dodgers have consistently improved their regular season record while under his leadership. The fact remains that he runs a tight clubhouse. Despite the comments and tantrums from players every now and then, his stewardship is something that has never come into question. That is a far stronger asset to look at.
As much as the Dodgers would benefit from gaining a new general manager, the risk of losing Mattingly in the process would do more harm than good.