Dodgers’ Don Mattingly is manager-of-the-year runner-up

Dodgers’ Don Mattingly is manager-of-the-year runner-up
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly finished second in voting for the NL manager of the year award behind Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle, who helped guide his team to its first postseason appearance in 21 years.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

Don Mattingly, who nearly lost his job as manager of the Dodgers in June, was second in the voting for National League manager of the year.

Mattingly finished behind Clint Hurdle, who led the Pittsburgh Pirates to their first playoff spot in 21 years.

Mattingly was all smiles on MLB Network, which broadcast the award announcement Tuesday. In his first public appearance since he challenged the Dodgers to grant him a multiyear contract, he said the team has engaged him in discussions about a new deal.

“We’re in talks right now,” Mattingly said. “They are going good. No real hurry or rush for me at this point, I don’t think for the Dodgers either. So things are good, just working, moving forward, hoping to put something together more for the long term.”

In his last public appearance, in an awkward Dodger Stadium news conference three weeks ago, Mattingly revealed that the Dodgers’ division series victory had guaranteed his contract for next year but said, “That doesn’t mean I’ll be back.”

He emphasized he did not want to return for another season as a lame-duck manager. Within 48 hours, he had agreed to honor the current contract. The Dodgers have made no announcement about their long-term plans for Mattingly.

Hurdle got 25 of 30 first-place votes in the NL race, with Mattingly second and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves third.

Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians won the American League award, with John Farrell of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox second and Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics third. Voting is conducted before postseason play by members of the Baseball Writers Assn. of America.

Mattingly, 52, led the team with the highest payroll in baseball history to the National League West championship, and with it the first playoff spot in his three years as manager. The Dodgers, in last place in the NL West on July 1, became the first team to clinch a playoff spot.

The Dodgers declined Mattingly’s bid for a new deal last winter, with the new owners preferring to evaluate him during their first full season in charge. The Dodgers fell 91/2 games out of first place on June 21. At one point, Mattingly later said, he had been warned by Dodgers President Stan Kasten that a change might have to be made if the season did not turn around.

The Dodgers delivered a historic turnaround. They won June 22, the start of a 42-8 run. No major league team had won 42 of 50 games since the 1945 St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers won the NL West by 11 games, becoming the first team since the 1914 Boston Braves to trail by at least 9 /2 games and win by at least 10.

Twitter: @BillShaikin