Mattingly Won’t Return to Manage Marlins in ’23

MIAMI — Don Mattingly, the baseball legend with the moniker “Donnie Baseball,” knew what he was walking into when he parted ways with the Dodgers and signed a four-year deal in November 2015 to become the 15th manager in Marlins history. It was a challenge he looked forward to, relying less on a high payroll and more on player development.

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His seven-year journey inside Miami’s dugout will end when the club wraps its 2022 season on Oct. 5, a mutual decision the team announced prior to Sunday afternoon’s 6-1 loss to the Nationals at loanDepot park.

“How do I characterize it?” Mattingly said. “I’m probably disappointed. I came here to build something, and something that was sustainable, that when you left here you felt like, ‘OK, the organization’s in a great spot.’ I came here with loads of hitting and [a] stacked lineup, and then we’ve kind of flipped the script a little bit. We haven’t swung the bats as well and produced hitters. We’ve been producing pitchers ever since, so it’s kind of flipped a little bit.

“But that being said, I think the organization’s in a good spot from the standpoint that it’s hard to find these kinds of guys that can keep every game close and keep you in it. And now it’ll be [general manager Kim Ng] and the organization’s job to get into the winter and figure out, ‘How do we win with this, and what’s the formula, and what’s the style or whatever we think we need to do to be able to play better baseball consistently and compete?’”

The longest-tenured and winningest skipper in franchise history, Mattingly has a 437-584 record (.428 winning percentage). The 61-year-old brought continuity to a franchise that never had that from the managerial bench. After five years with the Dodgers from 2011-15, during which he led the club to three straight National League West titles, he came to a smaller baseball market in Miami, with a roster including the late José Fernández as well as future MVPs Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.

But a rebuilding stage began under the current ownership group, which took over following the 2017 season. Mattingly didn’t reach the playoffs with the Marlins until the ‘20 COVID-19-shortened campaign, helping the franchise snap a 16-year postseason drought in its only winning season under his tutelage. He went on to capture NL Manager of the Year that season.

In September 2019, Mattingly signed a two-year contract extension with a mutual option for ’22 (it was his idea to have a deadline for it) that was exercised in July ‘21, meaning he is not under contract for next season.

“It’s been different than I kind of envisioned, just because of the changes,” Mattingly said. “I went through the ownership change in L.A., didn’t envision it coming here. And then obviously this year, another big change [with CEO Derek Jeter leaving]. So it’s been a little different. I thought we were turning the corner in ’20. We kind of maybe overachieved just a touch in ‘20, but I thought we were starting to gain that confidence and that unity as the organization was moving forward that we were going to be able to turn the corner.

“Last year was disappointing, and then this year has really been kind of more of the same, and that’s really kind of the conclusion I came to is, ‘It’s time for a new voice.’ I think it’s best for the organization, quite honestly, that we have a new voice and move forward.”

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