The next questionable decision
Mattingly has agreed to a new three-year contract with the
The agreement figures to temporarily eliminate the kind of distraction the Dodgers faced last season, when President Stan Kasten's evasiveness regarding the lame-duck manager's status created something of a sideshow.
Mattingly's previous deal was set to expire at the end of last season until the Dodgers reached the
Mattingly, 52, was the runner-up last season in voting for NL manager of the year and has a managerial record of 260-225. In each of Mattingly's three seasons, the Dodgers' record improved.
Some of the uncertainty Mattingly faced could be attributed to the fact he was hired by the previous owner,
When Mattingly took over as manager in 2011, his only previous managerial experience was in the Arizona Fall League, a finishing school for baseball's top prospects. But he led the then-bankrupt Dodgers to an 82-79 mark, which was better than expected.
The change in ownership the following season was accompanied by a significant shift in the club's philosophy, which raised questions about whether Mattingly would be replaced. The questions intensified last winter after the Dodgers declined to exercise his option for 2014.
Speculation continued to mount as the Dodgers were in last place more than a month into last season despite fielding a team with a $230-million payroll. Mattingly later revealed Kasten warned him he could be fired if the team didn't start winning.
The emergence of
Mattingly was widely credited with holding together a hastily assembled team that included players with troublesome pasts. But the absence of a long-term deal, combined with a couple of questionable managerial decisions in the playoffs, created the appearance that Mattingly's fate was unsettled.
Mattingly was criticized for his handling of the bullpen in a loss to the
In an uncomfortable end-of-the-season news conference, Mattingly blindsided his superiors by practically demanding a contract extension. Shortly after, Kasten publicly voiced his support for Mattingly. By baseball's winter meetings last month, Mattingly said he was "comfortable" with his situation and sounded confident a long-term solution could be found.