Why Dodgers’ choice on Don Mattingly is not simply ‘keep him’ or ‘fire him’

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly speaks during a news conference before Game 3 of the National League division series against the Mets in New York on Oct. 12.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly speaks during a news conference before Game 3 of the National League division series against the Mets in New York on Oct. 12.

(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

If we have learned anything about the Dodgers’ front office under Andrew Friedman, it is this: There is a never-ending search for even the slightest possible edge.

Pay for players to play elsewhere? Of course. Buy an extra draft pick under the guise of a trade? Absolutely.

It has been five days since the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs, and the team has remained silent about whether Manager Don Mattingly will stay or go. Mattingly has left Los Angeles and returned to his Indiana home with no definitive word from Friedman.

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Based on his track record, Friedman might well be exploring what kind of market might exist for Mattingly. The choices need not be limited to “keep him” or “fire him.”

The Miami Marlins are interested in Mattingly, according to a person familiar with their managerial search. The Dodgers could consider trading Mattingly to the Marlins, although precedent suggests that the Dodgers might not get a significant player in return.

In fact, the Marlins have gone this route before, trading two minor leaguers to the Chicago White Sox for Manager Ozzie Guillen in 2011. The two minor leaguers played a total of two games for the White Sox.

In 2012, the Toronto Blue Jays sent Manager John Farrell to the Boston Red Sox for utility infielder Mike Aviles. The Red Sox that year sent reliever Chris Carpenter to the Chicago Cubs as compensation for hiring Theo Epstein as president of baseball operations.

In 2002, the Tampa Bay Rays sent outfielder Randy Winn to the Seattle Mariners for Manager Lou Piniella; Winn started for the Mariners for two seasons and part of a third.

However, from a Dodgers perspective, recall this year’s history of swallowing contracts and collecting draft picks.

The Marlins have a competitive balance pick -- the only type of pick allowed to be traded -- with an estimated slot value of $1.5 million, although the figure could vary based on how many draft picks are awarded to teams losing free agents. Mattingly’s salary next season is believed to be in the range of $1.5 million to $2 million.

So the Dodgers could propose sending Mattingly -- and the money to cover his salary -- to Miami for that competitive balance pick. That would save the Marlins about $3 million, and Friedman could hire his own manager.


Of course, if the Marlins really want to save some money, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has $318.5 million left on his contract.

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin


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