The Dodgers battled to Game 5 in front of a home crowd in the National League Division Series against the Mets and lost, ending their 2015 season. After a week of silence, the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have agreed to mutually part ways. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports had the news prior to the official announcement. The team will pay Mattingly's 2016 salary.
As the season wore on, speculations that Mattingly's job might be in jeopardy if he didn't make it past the NLDS arose. The decision by both the Dodgers and the now-former manager was amicable, and there are a few teams in need of a new manager going into the 2016 season -- including the Miami Marlins, who are said to have interest.
"As our end of season process began, we discussed the past year, our future goals, necessary changes, roster needs and other matters relating to next year's campaign," president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a press release. "As the dialogue progressed daily, it evolved to a point where we all agreed that it might be best for both sides to start fresh. We decided to think about it for a couple of days and when we spoke again, we felt comfortable that this was the direction to go.
"I have the utmost respect for Donnie and thoroughly enjoyed working with him this past season. I want to thank him for his hard work and collaboration, as well as his accomplishments, including three consecutive National League West titles. I wish him nothing but success in the future."
Mattingly, 54, had the backing of Dodgers ownership in the past and there was no ill-will or treatment of the manager by the front office, but "long-term support wasn't strong," Heyman added in a subsequent tweet. The former manager was often praised for his ability to deal with the delicate balances of several "tricky situations" in the clubhouse and that will undoubtedly remain the same regardless of what organization he lands with next.
In the days of lengthy discussion by the front office following the NLDS loss, Heyman noted that there was still a back and forth whether the organization should keep Mattingly on as manager. The organization had actually offered him a contract extension following deliberation, but ESPN's Ramon Shelburne said that Mattingly declined, citing the lack of long-term support.
Shelburne noted that Mattingly indicated he just felt more "comfortable" working with the original group that hired him, and with several changes to the front office of late and a constantly changing "vision," it was a route Mattingly wasn't willing to go. Following the end of the 2015 season, Mattingly had already left for his home in Indiana without knowing his fate, according to LA Times' Bill Shaikin. In the official announcement, Mattingly thanked the fans and the organization for his time there.
"After meeting with Andrew, Farhan and Josh, we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me," Mattingly said. "We talked about several scenarios, including my returning in 2016. However, I believe this is the right time and right move for both parties. I'm still very passionate about managing and hope to get the opportunity in the near future. In the meantime, I want to thank the Dodger organization, the city and our fans for the opportunity and wish the club well going forward."
Mattingly finishes his tenure with the Dodgers club after five years and his record as a manager is 446-363 (.551). He brought three consecutive division titles to Los Angeles, a franchise first. However, after making it to the division series the last two years, the club has been eliminated in the first round. The team made it past the first round just once during that three-year stretch.