Don Mattingly will return to manage the Dodgers next season.
Mattingly and the Dodgers agreed on at least that much Wednesday, as both sides said they would honor their existing contract.
“Absolutely,” said Stan Kasten, the Dodgers’ president and primary decision maker.
Said Mattingly’s agent, Ray Schulte: “Donnie’s always been a man of his word and he’s under contract.”
Only two days earlier, Mattingly blindsided upper management by saying he might not be back if he had to be a lame-duck manager for a second consecutive season. Asked what changed between then and Wednesday, Schulte replied, “Nothing, really.”
The Dodgers aren’t expected to formally announce Mattingly’s return until after the World Series, during which Major League Baseball asks teams and players to not break any news.
In the coming days, Mattingly and the Dodgers figure to start addressing his long-term future.
Mattingly’s contract became guaranteed for the 2014 season when the Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves in a National League division series, but Mattingly doesn’t have any assurances beyond that.
Schulte said his client is still looking for a multi-year contract.
“He feels that’s what’s good for the organization, as well as his security,” Schulte said.
Mattingly, who couldn’t be reached for comment, is believed to be asking for a three-year deal.
Kasten declined to discuss the possibility of a contract extension, but said, “I’m anticipating a happy ending.”
Kasten also wouldn’t talk about the comments Mattingly made Monday.
The time for details will be after the World Series.
“We’ll explain it all,” Kasten said.
Mattingly and Kasten haven’t spoken about his future since the season ended. That was said to be one of the primary reasons Mattingly said what he said Monday.
By Wednesday, Schulte was describing Mattingly as being calmer about the situation.
“Donnie knows he’s going to talk to him,” Schulte said. “It’s a long off-season.”
But even after Schulte said Mattingly intended to manage the Dodgers next season, the possibility existed that Mattingly could be fired. That was until Kasten said he had no intention of dismissing Mattingly.
“I’ve always been a big supporter of his,” Kasten said.
Kasten regretted whatever role he might have played in creating the impression that Mattingly might not return.
“I apologize for the confusion,” he said.
When Mattingly returns to the dugout next season, he will do so with a new bench coach by his side. On Tuesday, the Dodgers fired Trey Hillman, Mattingly’s bench coach of three seasons. The remainder of the coaching staff will remain intact.
The front office hopes a new bench coach will help Mattingly make better decisions late in games, an area in which the manager drew criticism, particularly in the playoffs.
Whereas his tactics were questioned, Mattingly received high marks for how he handled a clubhouse full of high-priced players.
Mattingly led the Dodgers to a 92-70 record this season. Over three seasons, they are 260-225 under him. He has never won fewer than 82 games in a season.