Moments into his introductory news conference with the Miami Marlins on Monday, Don Mattingly peeled off his sport coat to try on a team jersey for the cameras.
“I’m hoping I’m not sweating underneath,” he said with a smile.
Mattingly hasn’t lost a game yet, and he is already feeling the heat. That’s the nature of working for Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who’s now on his seventh manager since June 2010.
But Mattingly, hired after five seasons with the Dodgers, is optimistic he’ll end the Miami managerial merry-go-round.
“I signed a four-year deal,” he said. “I plan on being here at least 10.”
That sounds good to team President David Samson, who can only try to joke about the Marlins’ instability while enduring six consecutive losing seasons. The Marlins were 71-91 this season.
“I got a call from an executive of another team asking about our advice on hiring a manager,” Samson said. “We’re good at it. We do it every year. … We committed that we wanted this to be the last manager’s press conference we ever did. We’ve done too many.”
Loria didn’t attend the news conference, but in a statement he described Mattingly as a “long-term solution.”
Perhaps it will help that New York native Loria grew up a Yankees fan, and Mattingly was a six-time All-Star first baseman for the Yankees.
“I’m very relaxed around Jeffrey,” Mattingly said. “We met a few years back. We’ve become friends as far as some off-the-field things, charity work and some things he does in New York. That relationship I feel like is solid.”
Mattingly was hired last week after parting with the Dodgers, and the change in jobs means a big adjustment regarding resources. The Dodgers led the majors by far this year with a payroll of $289.6 million at the end of the regular season; Miami ranked last at $64.9 million, and doesn’t plan much of an increase for 2016.
Starting pitching will be at the top of the Marlins’ shopping list this off-season. But Samson ruled out pursuing Toronto left-hander David Price or Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke, the free agents expected to command the biggest deals.
And Loria is notorious for his payroll purges.
“That was probably my biggest fear — he’s going to blow it up and start over, and blow it up and start over,” Mattingly said. “I wanted to be part of something that was going to continue to grow.”
Mattingly apparently received sufficient assurances on that front, and said the small budget doesn’t bother him.
Tim Wallach, Mattingly’s bench coach with the Dodgers, will probably have the same role in Miami. Marlins coaches Perry Hill, Lenny Harris and Reid Cornelius will be retained. The jobs of pitching and hitting coach have yet to be filled.
Mattingly had a 446-363 record with the Dodgers, who won the National League West title the last three seasons, but were 8-11 in the postseason and did not reach the World Series.
Marlins’ Henderson Alvarez won’t be ready on opening day
The Marlins said that Henderson Alvarez, their 2015 opening-day starter, will not be ready on opening day next year after undergoing right shoulder surgery in June.
Cardinals pick up option on Jaime Garcia
The St. Louis Cardinals exercised their $11.5-million option on left-hander Jaime Garcia and declined their $9-million mutual option on right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton, who gets a $2-million buyout.
St. Louis also announced that infielder Pete Kozma and catchers Ed Easley and Travis Tartamella were assigned outright to triple-A Memphis.
Garcia, 29, was 10-6 with a 2.43 earned-run average in 20 starts after thoracic outlet surgery. He is 52-32 with a 3.31 ERA in 126 regular-season games.
Broxton, 31, was 3-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 26 games after being acquired from Milwaukee at the trade deadline. He becomes eligible for free agency.
Kozma, 27, a first-round draft pick in 2007, played in 76 games last season.
Reds decline options on Skip Schumaker, Burke Badenhop
The Cincinnati Reds declined contract options on infielder Skip Schumaker and reliever Burke Badenhop, making them free agents.
Schumaker got a $500,000 buyout. He led major league pinch-hitters with 19 hits last season and had a club option for $2.5 million in 2016.
Badenhop led the team with 68 appearances and was 2-4 with a 3.93 ERA. The Reds paid $1.5 million to buy out his 2016 option, which included a $4-million salary.
Left-hander Sean Marshall, left-hander Manny Parra and catcher Brayan Pena also became free agents.
Reliever Sam LeCure was outrighted to triple-A Louisville.
Brewers make additions to coaching staff
Manager Craig Counsell has started filling out the Milwaukee Brewers’ coaching staff with the additions of former San Diego Padres interim manager Pat Murphy as bench coach and Derek Johnson as pitching coach.
Murphy reunites with Counsell after coaching him at the University of Notre Dame. Murphy spent the last six seasons in the Padres organization.
Johnson joins the Brewers from the Chicago Cubs, where he was the pitching coordinator the last three seasons. Johnson had an 11-year stint as pitching coach at Vanderbilt.
The Brewers also announced that bullpen coach Lee Tunnell would return, joining third base coach Ed Sedar and hitting coach Darnell Coles as holdovers from the 2015 staff.
Blue Jays tab Tony LaCava as interim GM
Mark Shapiro, the new president and chief executive of the Toronto Blue Jays, said that Tony LaCava will serve as interim general manager after Alex Anthopoulos rejected a contract offer and left the team Thursday. LaCava had been an assistant to Anthopoulos since 2007.
Shapiro also said John Gibbons will remain manager of the Blue Jays in 2016.