Don Mattingly and the Marlins have mutually agreed that 2022 will be his final season as the club’s manager, according to a press release from the team.
The team released a statement from chairman and principal owner Bruce Sherman as well as Mattingly. Sherman’s portion reads: “We are fortunate to have had Don Mattingly leading our team on the field over the last seven years. He has represented the Marlins, our players, our fans, and the South Florida community with unmatched dignity and pride. Over the course of our recent conversations with Don, we both agreed not to pursue a new contract for the 2023 season and that the time is right for a new voice to lead our clubhouse. He will depart with the most wins and most games managed in franchise history and we are proud of Don’s many accomplishments, including winning National League Manager of the Year in 2022 when he guided the Marlins to the postseason after a 16-year absence.”
Mattingly’s portion of the press release reads: “Today I am announcing that I will not be seeking a contract extension with the Miami Marlins. After meeting with Mr. Sherman and discussing with Kim Ng, all parties agreed that it was time for a new voice for the organization. I am proud and honored to have served as manager of the Marlins for the past seven years and have enjoyed my experiences and relationships I’ve developed within the organization. I look forward to spending time with my family in Evansville, and to any future endeavors.”
Mattingly, 61, got his first taste of managing with the Dodgers from 2011 to 2015 before coming over to the Marlins prior to the 2016 season. Of course, a lot has changed for the franchise during that time. The Fish were near-ish to .500 in Mattingly’s first two seasons as skipper, finishing 79-82 in 2016 and then 77-85 the following year.
It was towards the end of that 2017 campaign that the club was sold from Jeffrey Loria to a group headed by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman. The new ownership group immediately set out to slash the team’s budget, trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich that winter and J.T. Realmuto one year later. That unsurprisingly led the team into a stretch of poor results, finishing in the basement of the NL East in 2018 and 2019. They surprised with a 31-29 finish in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, with Mattingly winning Manager of the Year in the process, but then were back to being bad again in the two subsequent campaigns. They went 67-95 last year and currently sport a record of 63-89 here in 2022.
Those trades landed several prospects, including Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Daniel Castano, Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz, Sixto Sanchez, Jorge Alfaro and others. Very few of those players found success in Miami, however, with many of them having since moved on to other organizations. The club still felt like it had enough young pitching talent to take an aggressive approach this offseason, bringing in Avisail Garcia, Jorge Soler, Jacob Stallings and Joey Wendle for 2022. Unfortunately, all of those players have had disappointing seasons, meaning the post-rebuild era still seems illusive.
Mattingly currently sports a record of 437-583 while at the helm in Miami, though it would be difficult to place the blame squarely on him for all that losing given that the franchise has been intentionally bad for much of that stretch. It’s also probably not what Mattingly had in mind when he first joined the team, as the exciting bunch of young and talented MLB players that were present when he was first hired were sent packing in exchange for even younger prospects. Given that his departure has been reported as a mutual decision, it doesn’t seem like he was particularly enthused about continuing with the ongoing rebuild efforts. His statement indicates that he will go home to his family in Indiana, though it’s unclear if he would be interested in or pursue any other opportunities in baseball.
The Marlins will head into the offseason with much work to do this offseason in order to improve for 2023, but now they will have to add a managerial search to the list. General manager Kim Ng and her staff will be competing with the Blue Jays, Phillies, Angels and Rangers, who all fired their managers this year, though some of them could potentially retain their interim skippers into the future.
Craig Mish and Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reported on Mattingly’s departure prior to the official team announcement.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.