Just a mere 4 days after parting ways with the Dodgers, Don Mattingly is on the verge of finding himself a new job. It was reported Monday morning that Donnie Baseball was in a great spot to become the Marlins’ next manager.
The former Yankee first baseman had managed the Dodgers since 2011, compiling a 446-353 record. After missing the playoffs his first two years, he led the Dodgers to three straight playoff appearances, reaching the NLCS once in 2013. Much was made, though, of the Dodgers’ inability to advance deep into the playoffs considering their talent. Names like Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford were peppered throughout the Dodger lineups, while the rotation featured names like Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-jin Ryu.
In Miami, Don Mattingly would be looking at a very interesting team dynamic. The Marlins are a young, upstart team with a ton of talent, but also a team in need of someone to fine-tune the talent, and fill the holes that do exist in their lineup. The Marlins are fairly well set at most of their positions, besides third base and center field. The hot corner was handled last year mainly by Martin Prado and Derek Dietrich, and while both were serviceable at the position, a move would have to be made. Martin Prado is a crafty veteran, who’s been around the block a few times; Derek Dietrich is a 26-year-old utility man, who had his first real respectable season last year.
A decision would have to be made by Don Mattingly whether to stick with those two, or look into a very thin free agent class headlined by David Freese. In center, Marcell Ozuna was supposed to be the next man up, but struggled mightily last year and was linked to trade rumors. He’ll likely still get a shot to be the everyday center fielder, but a name like Dexter Fowler or Denard Span would be awfully enticing for the Marlins with a new manager. The biggest challenge for Don Mattingly would be keeping his team healthy. Injuries decimated Miami last season, especially to the rotation where neither Jose Fernandez nor Henderson Alvarez was able to stay healthy last season.
Ultimately, this would be a great job for Don Mattingly. It’s a much lower pressure job, and he’ll have the ability to take over for a rebuilding team and teach the youngsters all that he knows. Unless something drastic changes, expect to see the 54-year-old named as Marlins manager in the near future.