Don Mattingly, Dodgers talking deal
The Los Angeles Dodgers are discussing a new, multiyear contract with manager Don Mattingly, two sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
No deal is imminent, but there is optimism on both sides that a new deal will be completed.
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Dodgers president Stan Kasten previously had said Mattingly would return in 2014 for the final year of his contract, which vested when the team defeated the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series. Kasten declined to comment on the situation when reached by ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday, citing his long-standing policy of handling contract negotiations in private.
Mattingly's agent Ray Schulte also declined to comment.
Mattingly had put pressure on the front office during a news conference at the end of the season to either extend him a multiyear contract offer or move on without him, saying he had been frustrated with his status as a "lame-duck" manager during the season. Since then, cooler heads have prevailed.
Schulte told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Oct. 23 that Mattingly would honor the final year of his contract no matter what, while Kasten publicly offered his support for him and confirmed he would return in 2014. Discussions on a new deal are ongoing, sources said.
While Mattingly's comments initially caught the organization off guard, support for him remained strong, Dodgers sources have indicated. Mattingly had been so low key about his situation during the season, it was unclear how frustrated he had become, according to sources.
Mattingly has maintained a good relationship with Dodgers chairman Mark Walter, sources indicated. And while Kasten generally deferred questions about Mattingly's contract to the offseason, he publicly praised him several times throughout the season, even as the Dodgers stumbled out of the gates and fell 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 NL Championship Series.
The Dodgers did not retain bench coach Trey Hillman, one of Mattingly's closest friends, after the season. However, sources indicate, that had been decided before Mattingly's news conference at the end of the season. The Dodgers offered Hillman a position within the organization, which he will weigh against offers from other teams.
The rest of Mattingly's staff was retained and is expected back. Third-base coach Tim Wallach was given permission to interview with the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners but will be back with the Dodgers in 2014 now that those clubs have hired managers. Wallach is considered a candidate to be the new bench coach, but no decisions have been made yet.
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