Mattingly unsure if he will return next season
Dodgers skipper admits frustration in perceived lack of confidence shown by ownership
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said his 2014 option vested when Los Angeles beat Atlanta in the National League Division Series, but that doesn't mean he'll return.
Hurt by ownership's refusal to pick up that $1.4 million option a year ago, which Mattingly said made him a lame duck in the clubhouse, Mattingly emphasized that he "doesn't want to be somewhere he's not wanted."
Mattingly appeared at a Dodger Stadium press conference Monday with general manager Ned Colletti, who hired Mattingly and said his confidence in Mattingly never wavered, not even when the team was in last place and the manager's job security was in doubt.
Colletti's comments, and others by Mattingly, put the focus on ownership, and in particular team president Stan Kasten, who was not made available to the media.
Colletti opened by saying meetings will be held this week to determine Mattingly's status, his coaching staff and 2014 preparations. Colletti didn't want to talk about Mattingly's job, specifically, but Mattingly did with a frustration he has hidden for a year.
Mattingly hinted that he not only needed a multiple-year contract to lift the lame-duck status, but assurances from owners that they trust his ability. His original contract was guaranteed for three years.
"It puts me in a spot where everything I do is questioned. Because I'm basically trying out, auditioning to say, `Can you manage a team or not manage?' It's a tough spot. To me, it gets to that point where three years in you either know or you don't," Mattingly said.
"When you're put in this position, the organization basically says, `We don't know if you can manage or not.' That's the position I've been in all year long. So, that's not a great position for me as a manager. That's the way the organization wanted it last year. That's fine. At this point, it is what it is.
"I've dealt with a lot as a player and with everything I'm feeling, hopefully I get a chance to speak with everyone -- Ned, [chairman] Mark Walter, Magic [Johnson], Stan, and speak to them about how I feel."
Mattingly also indicated he wanted to know soon where he stood, because there are other managerial openings.
"I want to manage," he said.
"This will be resolved very quickly," Colletti added.
Mattingly said he "loves" managing in Los Angeles.
"I like being here, but I don't want to be anywhere I'm not wanted. In New York, at one point, there was talk of trading me. I felt I can play anywhere. I always have confidence in myself. If they don't want you and don't think you're capable of doing the job, but I don't know how everybody feels, if there are people that don't feel the same way."
There has been speculation that one possible outcome sought by ownership would be the addition of another former manager to the coaching staff -- it already includes bench coach Trey Hillman and first-base coach Davey Lopes -- to assist Mattingly in in-game decisions.
Mattingly said his entire staff would return "if it's up to me," and sounded like a manager who would be loyal to his coaches if ownership were to predicate his return on a staff shakeup of any kind.
"I'm happy with the guys in the room," Mattingly said. "They are quality baseball people, unselfish people. They want the best for the organization and the best for the players. They are tireless workers. They didn't give up when things looked bad. They stayed with the process and we got better, and that's what I'm so happy about."
Among other topics discussed at the press conference were Cy Young Award favorite Clayton Kershaw and Cubans Yasiel Puig and Alexander Guerrero.
The latest Kershaw rumor is that he rejected a $300 million offer from the club. Colletti would not get into details other than to repeat earlier comments that he believes Kershaw has interest in reaching a deal, as does the club.
Colletti said the free-agent signing of Guerrero for four years and $28 million should be completed by the end of Monday. He said the club views Guerrero as a middle infielder, "probably second base," which means he could replace Mark Ellis, who has a club option and Colletti said still has value.
Guerrero could take over at shortstop and move Hanley Ramirez to third base, which would be less demanding on Ramirez's beaten-up body. Colletti said Guerrero will play winter ball.
Mattingly said he's hopeful the club puts in place a plan "to help [Puig] understand the importance of all the small things" that he hasn't learned because he was rushed to the Major Leagues with less than one year of Minor League seasoning.
"The small things you don't see on ESPN," said Mattingly, who had to live with overaggressive baserunning and thoughtless throws from the outfield along with Puig's dynamic bat.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.