Perhaps the lure of winning supersedes reality after Don Mattingly agreed to a four-year deal on Thursday to become manager of the Miami Marlins.
Mattingly, fresh off a very successful five-year stint as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers previously chose not to return to Chavez Ravine for the final year of his contract, citing ideological differences between President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi. Though Mattingly led the Dodgers to postseason play on three separate occasions and a 446-363 record at the helm, failure to advance past the Division Series more than once continued to wear on him and management with the unlimited resources of a $300-million payroll. Mattingly also received intense scrutiny from media and baseball experts regarding his skills as an in-game tactician and strategist.
Mattingly’s hiring by the Marlins marks the eighth manager hired by volatile and unpredictable owner Jeffrey Loria since 2010 and his 11th since assuming ownership of the club in 2003. Though hiring Mattingly provides the Marlins with instant credibility and legitimacy, predecessors such as Ozzie Guillen and Mike Redmond will tell you that the job has a fleeting nature and history suggests that Mattingly will unlikely last the full length of the contract regardless of its apparent stability.
With managerial vacancies quickly closing and the wounds of his Dodgers tenure still fresh his mind, Mattingly could have been best served sitting out the 2016 season before pursuing a more viable and secure managerial position with a different franchise. Strengthened by a young nucleus comprised of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Jose Fernandez, the Marlins had a burgeoning foundation in place to develop into a perennial contender in the coming years. Perhaps those promising hopefuls and the endless pursuit of a World Series ring as the sole reasons why Mattingly will call South Florida his new, but likely not permanent residence for the 2016 season.