Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/16/13
The Dodgers intend to bring Don Mattingly back to manage the team next year people familiar with the situation say. Mattingly's lack of a signed contract for 2014 combined with some much-debated postseason strategy decisions have fueled media speculation that the team could possibly make a change. A return always seemed more likely than not after the team went on an almost unprecedented 42-8 run at one point to run away in the NL West following a painfully slow start that left them in last places 9 ½ games out and in last place in early June. Still speculation about a possible change grew in recent days as a few of Mattingly's October moves have been dissected. Team sources have always called Mattingly's situation a “non-issue” suggesting he wasn't in trouble. But some wondered. The team holds an option for 2014 for a reported $1.4 million but it isn't known how exactly how many years they play to commit to Mattingly. Dodgers managing partner Mark Walter maintained the team's consistent public stance that they will address Mattingly's situation after the season. Walter also said that ultimately it isn't his call; but he left not much doubt where he stands. “I think he's done a good job” Walter told CBSSports.com before Tuesday night's NLCS game vs. the Cardinals. “We're in the NLCS.” Mattingly could technically go elsewhere since he'll be a free agent and a few managerial jobs are open in Seattle Cincinnati and Washington. But Mattingly wants to stay. "I want to be here" he said earlier in the postseason. Mattingly was rumored to be in potential trouble with a few more losses when the team was at its low point in early June. General manager Ned Colletti remained a cnsistent supporter through that time and ultimately president Stan Kasten and Colletti decide not to make a move then. Mattingly who's likely to finish in the top two or three in NL Manager of the Year voting seems to have support in the clubhouse as well not a surprise since the management of players/people is seen as a major strength. “I sure hope so” catcher A.J. Ellis answered when asked if Mattingly will be back. “The way he navigated this season he's definitely earned it. It isn't my call but all I cay say is I hope so. I've never been around a more consistent person in my life. He brings the same attitude every day. He's an eternal optimist.” Ellis said he'll never forget his spring speech and how it moved players. “When he stood up he said “I'll make you one promise. I'll never forget how hard this game is”' Ellis recalled. Walter noted the number of injuries that have plagued the team. Implicit is that Mattingly played a role in overcoming major ailments that impaired to different degrees key players Matt Kemp Hanley Ramirez Andre Ethier Chad Billingsley Ted Lilly and others. The team spent $220 million on payroll but far less than that was available most times. There wasn't one game where Kemp Ethier Carl Crawford and rookie sensation Yasiel Puig all were available and healthy for all nine innings. Walter apparently doesn't ascribe to the “World Series or bust” motto advanced by part owner Magic Johnson the NBA icon in a spring interview. “We can't feel bad about where we are” Walter said. “Only four teams make it to the LCS. You can't feel bad if you don't win the World Series every single year. Do we want to go further? Sure.”
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