Will Don Mattingly be back as the Dodgers manager next season?
Multiple outlets reported he would return. But that was before an awkward news conference Monday, where Mattingly wasn’t shy about criticizing team management.
At the very moment crews were tearing down the NL West Championship banners at Dodger Stadium, General Manager Ned Colletti began what was supposed to be a routine end-of-the-season gathering with reporters.
His first question: Would the man sitting next to him, Don Mattingly, be back?
“We’re going to talk about all the personnel later today, tomorrow, and the next day,” replied Colletti.
At that point, Mattingly, wearing jeans and a black long sleeve shirt and sipping a Diet Mountain Dew, was asked his thoughts.
He could have chosen to give a similarly vague response. Instead, Mattingly pointed out that even though the one-year option on his contract vested after the first round of the playoffs, that didn’t necessarily mean he would return.
“I love it here," said Mattingly. "But I don’t want to be anywhere you’re not wanted.”
Mattingly suggested he has felt unwanted all year, ever since the team declined to pick up the option for his expiring three-year contract.
“This has been a frustrating, tough year, said Mattingly. "You come in as lame duck. Everything I do is questioned. I’m basically trying out to say if can you manage or not manage. And to me, we’re three years and you either know or you don’t.”
Colletti said he has been a longtime supporter of Mattingly’s. The general manager pointed out that he stuck by the manager, even as the Dodgers got off to a terrible start and many were calling for Mattingly’s head.
Now Dodgers management will have to decide whether coming within two games of the World Series should be enough to offer Mattingly a multiyear deal.
"This is going to be resolved very quickly," Colletti said.