If Don Mattingly gets fired by the Dodgers, it doesn’t make sense. Why fire Mattingly when he helped keep the Dodgers clubhouse together during the rough stretches then lead them on a historic streak that put them in first place after the all-star break. Mattingly is a player manager. Meaning very well liked in the clubhouse, gave everyone enough playing time. I mean sure he had times where his moves were bad, but he was just simply trying to help the player out and make them confident in themselves to prove they belong. He gave many chances to players like Brandon League and Luis Cruz. League will be here for another two years. Hopefully this winter he can regroup himself and get ready for spring training and return to his old form and be player that the Dodgers signed for, a reliable reliever that can get outs. Mattingly is being questioned whether he should be brought back or not.
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Bench coach Trey Hillman was just fired today, but might return to the organization in a different capacity. If that is any indicator to making a decision, it seems that Mattingly has pissed off the management yesterday at the news conference. Mattingly and Hillman are best friends and for Hillman to get fired is not a good sign for the former Yankee. Mattingly’s other closest friend and advance scout, Wade Taylor, also got fired. Unless the management was just simply unhappy with Hillman and Taylor, may also fire Mattingly or it just wasn’t the bench coach that needs to be in the dugout to guide him.
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As for the rest of the coaching staff, Rick Honeycutt will be on staff for the next manager, if Mattingly gets fired. Honeycutt is one of the best and most important coaches in the Dodgers Organization. Fire Honeycutt, the management has lost it. No one is better than Honeycutt except Dave Duncan, but he’s retired. I also expect Mark McGwire and Davey Lopes to stay put. Tim Wallach has a chance to after the manager position for the Dodgers if Mattingly gets fired, and other multiple manager positions this offseason. McGwire just gave the Dodgers their best team batting average season in one season. He helped Juan Uribe have his best season as a Dodger. He helped Adrian Gonzalez adapt to Dodgers Stadium. He was the one that brought free agent Skip Schumaker to the Dodgers in a trade with the Cardinals. Schumaker hit over .285 after April. April was the month that really hurt Schumaker’s stats. He helped Scott Van Slyke produce and become the power hitter, he was meant to be. As for Lopes, everyone likes him and trusts him and he is a former Dodger that has so much for this organization as a player and a coach. It be hard to see Lopes, a legend in the organization, get let go.
Potential candidates that could be in line to replace Mattingly if he gets fired:
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I don’t understand why Dodgers fans don’t like Baker. Baker has led his team to playoffs when he was managing them. That’s including the Chicago Cubs! I know hard to believe huh? He made it to the World Series for San Francisco Giants and almost won if it weren’t for the Anaheim Angels’ (now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) world series heroics. Baker then lead the Cubs to the playoffs only to get eliminated in the first round. Baker then went on to manage the Reds and now, I believe that the only reason why Baker got fired by the Reds because the players couldn’t help him keep his job by not doing their jobs. Baker was one that said to the Reds to fire him, not his players. Baker, believe me, would be a great choice in the free agency pool of managers.
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Wallach would be another excellent choice as manager, but I believe that Dodgers management want a manager that has experience in tight situations, meaning Baker. Wallach deserves as much a shot that Baker gets because Wallach knows these players being a coach with them for the last four years. Some of the players played under Wallach in Triple-A like catcher A.J. Ellis and Clayton Kershaw. Ellis knows his stuff about baseball. So if Mattingly is let go, expect Wallach to get his first recommendations to the management from Ellis and Kershaw.
I think if they were to bring Guillen in, it would be to control Puig. Making sure, Puig is absolutely being mature and not making dumb plays on the field. Guillen has playoff experience and it would be put to good use. It didn’t work out in Miami because the Marlins had Guillen on a strict policy in the clubhouse and Guillen couldn’t work with that. I don’t know if Guillen would be the right fit for the Dodgers because Hanley Ramirez played under him and wasn’t happy with him, but then again at the time, Ramirez was forced to play third base by the front office and was in losing environment at the time. So with Guillen coming into a winning environment and a clubhouse with characters and having no strict policy by front office could be what the Dodgers need to reach the World Series down the road.
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Acta, coached the Washington Nationals and the Cleveland Indians, could be another good candidate to come to LA and finally be the type of manager that could lead the Dodgers to the World Series. Acta coaching in losing situations didn’t really help his resume. Acta is also interviewing for the Cubs position. Acta had previously interviewed for the position before losing to former skipper, Grady Little. Maybe second time the charm. Acta would have a long shot for the position. Acta has never coached in a clubhouse with this much characters.
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Wedge has coached for many different teams with his latest team, being the Seattle Mariners. Wedge simply was tired of the front office and elected to not return. Wedge could return to managing as soon as next year if the Dodgers approached about interviewing for the manager position if Mattingly gets fired. Wedge also has playoff experience when he lead the Indians to playoffs multiple times and getting as close to the World Series by getting eliminated in the ALCS by the Yankees.
Other possible targets:
Ultimately, I expect Mattingly to stay and get a bench coach that is a big name and has big time major league manager experience and prepare for the 2014 season. Mattingly will also get a multiyear deal for at least 2 years. Mattingly will have that time gap to lead the Dodgers to World Series by then. If he doesn’t reach the World Series, then expect Mattingly to get the boot. The door is still open this offseason, on Mattingly getting fired because the management aren’t happy with his decision-making in the late game situations.