The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES—Don Mattingly and the L.A. Dodgers stuck to their scripts yesterday, insisting they agreed to a mutual parting of the ways while never revealing the exact reason he won’t return as manager.
Like a publicist announcing the demise of a Hollywood marriage, the parties insisted the split was amicable.
Mattingly even suggested he “will be friends like forever” with his former bosses.
“I don’t really want to get into details of our conversations,” Mattingly said by phone from his off-season home in Evansville, Ind.
“They were good conversations, they were open and they were honest,” he noted.
“It just became evident that this was the best thing for both parties.”
At Dodger Stadium, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi parroted the same vacuous message.
“It was kind of organic,” Friedman said.
“It just kind of crystalized that is something that potentially made a lot of sense.”
Before they came to that conclusion, the parties discussed extending Mattingly’s contract beyond next year—its final season.
“When we started on Friday, we expected him to be our manager in 2016,” Friedman admitted.
“I think that was his thought process, also.”
But something clearly changed as the discussions wore on. Exactly what it was neither side would specify.
“It came back to this was the right time and right thing,” Mattingly said.
“Andrew, Farhan, and Josh [Byrnes] are great guys and they’re going to do great things,” he added.
“The organization is in great shape.”
Mattingly said he felt wanted, his players backed him, and Friedman and Zaidi expressed their respect and admiration for him—making it all the more puzzling why he’s walking away from a storied organization that boasts baseball’s highest payroll.
Neither side shed any light to help the franchise’s longtime fans understand the move.
“If there is a reason that this happened, we would share it,” Friedman noted.
Zaidi said a contract extension was discussed but no official offer was made.
Los Angeles was 446-363 in five years under Mattingly, finishing with a winning record in every season and claiming the last three NL West titles.
But the Dodgers have not reached the World Series since winning it in 1988.
Friedman said he expects to hire a manager by the start of baseball’s winter meetings that run Dec. 7-10 in Nashville, Tenn.