If those are signals the Dodgers are sending, please alert your nearest code breaker.
It’s been a strange couple of days, what with a wounded Don Mattingly bemoaning his being placed in an awkward situation as a lame-duck manager, followed the next day by the Dodgers' firing his friend and bench coach, Trey Hillman.
And now comes this: The Dodgers have announced they are picking up the options on third base coach Tim Wallach, first base coach Dave Lopes and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. Hitting coach Mark McGwire is already under contract, and the Dodgers said they are working on bringing back bullpen coach Chuck Crim, assistant pitching coach Ken Howell and assistant hitting coach John Valentin.
Which means they want the entire coaching staff to return, sans Hillman.
That doesn’t sound like a team planning on letting Mattingly go. You don’t normally hire a new manager who has no say in his coaching staff.
Mattingly, of course, is under contract. That’s one of the little gems he revealed Monday, announcing his option for 2014 automatically vested once the Dodgers advanced to the National League Championship Series.
But Mattingly also said, “That doesn’t mean I’ll be back,” and made it clear he has no interest in returning under another lame-duck situation.
Mattingly wanted his entire staff back, and just about got it. The Dodgers clearly want a different voice in the dugout, one who will offer diverse choices and strategies.
The Dodgers don’t have to do anything with Mattingly. They could just move forward with the one-year extension. But that would almost force him to resign after what he said Monday.
A multiyear contract is the obvious solution. And since the Dodgers are bringing back his entire staff, minus one, my best codebreaking says he ultimately gets it. Not that team President Stan Kasten and company are probably thrilled with how it went down.
Two days into their first week without playing, and it’s already one interesting off-season.