In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he has mixed feelings about parting ways with the team after spending five years as their manager but that the decision was the "best for both parties."
The Dodgers announced Thursday that Mattingly would not manage the club in 2016 in what was termed a mutual decision.
“I can’t sit here and say I'm just bubbling over,” Mattingly said. “There are a lot of emotions that go into this, a lot of discussion, a lot of talk, but it gets back around to the same thing as we kept talking and going over it. We all came to the same conclusion. This is best for both parties.”
Mattingly, who had one year left on his contract, said it took him four days to decide whether to leave the organization, though he and the Dodgers both shied away from the words “fired” and “resigned.”
According to a report from ESPN's Mark Saxon, Mattingly told Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, general manager Farhan Zaidi and vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes that he was upset by the blame the team’s fan base placed upon him for failing to meet apparently unrealistic expectations this season, and that he would only return if that was what the team wanted. Friedman and Zaidi, however, reportedly did not want to bring Mattingly back as manager if he had any hesitations about the position.
Five days later, everyone had agreed that a return to the Dodgers' dugout was not the best option for Mattingly or the team.
“I’m honored and proud to have had the opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Mattingly said in a statement Thursday. “I’ve enjoyed my experiences and relationships with the organization's staff and players throughout my eight years in [Los Angeles]. After meeting with Andrew, Farhan and Josh, we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me.”
Mattingly led the Dodgers to a National League West title this season with a 92–70 record. The team was eliminated from the playoffs by the New York Mets in the Division Series.
The Marlins are reportedly interested in hiring Mattingly, who has said he wants to continue managing.
- Erin Flynn