Mattingly reflects on end of season

Updated: January 9, 2014, 2:56 AM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers announced a three-year contract extension with manager Don Mattingly on Wednesday.

His new deal starts next season and runs through 2016. Financial terms were not available.

Mattingly admitted Wednesday that he wishes his now-famous end-of-season news conference had gone differently. Days after the Dodgers were eliminated in the National League Championship Series, Mattingly said he felt entering the 2014 season on another one-year contract would make him a lame duck. He said Wednesday his comments were prompted by the fact that the Dodgers had not informed him at the time that they wanted to talk about a long-term extension.

His 2014 option, reportedly for $1.4 million, vested when the Dodgers advanced to the NLCS, but that contract is superseded by the new deal. He will be paid more than that, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.

"Things just come out of you at that point. Looking back, I would have rather it had stayed in-house and been dealt with like that," Mattingly said. "I didn't have any preconceived notions. I was not trying to do anything like that."

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said terms of the new deal had been all but finalized three weeks ago but the team wanted to wait until it had signed several free agents and gotten through the holidays to make the announcement.

"A long ways back, we both knew what direction we wanted to go in, and we wanted him to be here," Colletti said.

Mattingly didn't attend Wednesday's news conference because he was stuck in his native Indiana after his flight was canceled by snow. He said a pipe in his home burst due to extreme cold and flooded his basement.

In a conference call, he said he thinks having a long-term deal will help his authority in the Dodgers' clubhouse, a room dominated by veteran players on hefty, long-term contracts.

"You've got to build respect personally with guys, and how you treat them is going to really, truly gain you respect. But also, when the organization shows you that respect from upper management, it sends a message to the players that they trust this guy and believe in him," Mattingly said. "That's where I think it makes the job easier."

Mattingly is 260-225 in his three seasons as Dodgers manager. He finished second in the NL Manager of the Year voting in 2013. Mattingly came under fire last season as the Dodgers stumbled out of the gate and were 9½ games out of first place on June 21.

The Dodgers then went on a franchise-best 42-8 run over the next 50 games and wound up winning the NL West by 11 games before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS.

Los Angeles did not retain bench coach Trey Hillman, one of Mattingly's closest friends, after the season. However, that move had been decided before Mattingly's news conference at the end of the season, sources previously indicated to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

The team subsequently promoted highly regarded third-base coach Tim Wallach to bench coach and retained the rest of Mattingly's staff.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


ALSO SEE