July is for trades, and for the frenzy of trade talk that precedes the deadline at the end of the month.
September is for pennant races, and for the frenzy of playoff possibilities and tiebreaker scenarios.
August evokes the phrase "dog days," those antsy days waiting for the postseason, or for the next season. As we await the playoffs, here are six California baseball vacancies that need to be filled this off-season, and one that just might be:
2. Dodgers starting pitchers: The 2016 starting rotation:
3. Padres shortstop: There is only so much A.J. Preller can do in one off-season. The Padres' general manager imported five starters in trade — at catcher, third base, and all three outfield spots — and decided to go with utility player
4. Angels position players: This is all the Angels should count on: Mike Trout in center field, Kole Calhoun in right field, Albert Pujols at first base. Maybe C.J. Cron at designated hitter, but the Angels are platooning him now. Shortstop
5. Charter Cable sales guru: With the Dodgers' television blackout expected to extend through a second full season, how do you sell SportsNet LA to customers who have gotten used to living without it? After Charter announced its agreement to buy Time Warner Cable in May, Charter cable systems added SNLA. That means most of the market, pretty much everyone outside the Cox Cable area, can get SNLA by switching to TWC or Charter. Recent conversations between TWC and the newly merged AT&T/DirecTV went nowhere, indicating consumer demand is not great enough to force a deal. Assuming federal regulators approve the Charter/TWC merger — before the start of next season, the companies hope — Charter will have to deliver quite a compelling pitch to get the Dodgers on the air all over town. Dodgers fans without SNLA have missed two no-hitters so far, with the prospect of missing another every time Kershaw delivers his compelling pitches.
There are other vacancies worth noting — Dodgers setup men, Padres manager, Giants starting pitchers — but none as compelling as the potential opening to manage the Dodgers.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, inherited Mattingly and has been cautiously supportive of him in public comments. However, in the first year of the Friedman regime, the balance of power has tilted overwhelmingly toward the front office and away from the manager and coaches.
That means that, while we cannot say whether Mattingly will manage the Dodgers next season, we can say that Mike Scioscia will not.