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If Don Mattingly is in demand, how will he and the Dodgers respond?

Don Mattingly watches the Dodgers play the Reds in Cincinnati on Aug. 27.

Don Mattingly watches the Dodgers play the Reds in Cincinnati on Aug. 27.

(Gary Landers / Associated Press)
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With the Dodgers at their happiest point of the season -- with Clayton Kershaw on the mound Wednesday as they try to sweep the San Francisco Giants and all but end the suspense in the National League West -- the Miami Marlins have thrown a curve ball toward Dodger Stadium.

It is no surprise that the Dodgers might need to deliver in October for Manager Don Mattingly to keep his job, but this wild card just showed up from Miami: The Marlins plan to remove Dan Jennings as manager, and they are interested in Mattingly as a replacement, according to reports from the Marlins’ website and CBS Sports.

In 2013, after the Dodgers advanced to the National League championship series, Mattingly said -- in a spectacularly awkward news conference -- that he did not wish to return with just one year left on his contract. The Dodgers subsequently extended his contract through 2016. The team has not announced any changes to his contract since then.

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That means Mattingly could be in the same position this fall as he was three years ago: considering his future with the Dodgers with one year left on his contract.

Mattingly has forged a strong bond with Mark Walter, the Dodgers’ controlling owner. When the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations last fall, it was made clear that Mattingly would stay, at least for 2015.

Since then, however, the Dodgers have dismantled much of the international scouting operation assembled by President Stan Kasten and former General Manager Ned Colletti. Friedman inherited Mattingly and has been cautiously supportive in his public comments, but it is uncertain whether the Dodgers would consider another new deal for Mattingly.

If the Marlins did want Mattingly as their manager, there might be little leverage for him here. The Dodgers boast the biggest payroll in North American sports history, with Mattingly on the verge of leading them to their third consecutive postseason appearance, which would be a first in their storied history.

The Marlins are on the verge of their sixth consecutive losing season. Miami star Giancarlo Stanton, who made his debut in 2010, will be playing for his seventh manager when next season opens.

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