Miami Marlins: The tentative future of Don Mattingly

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 30: Manager Don Mattingly
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 30: Manager Don Mattingly /

With a new ownership on the way, expect a number of changes. What does that mean for the future of the Miami Marlins manager?

Don Mattingly is close to wrapping up his second year as the manager of the Miami Marlins. If the Marlins were to make the playoffs, he would receive serious consideration for Manager of the Year. If they don’t, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to be let go.

He’s done well to keep the Miami Marlins hovering near even. Devoid of legitimate starting pitching, Miami has competed well. Mattingly has helped guide the team through a barrage of injuries and kept them relevant.

But is it enough? He could be released simply because ownership wants a new face in the dugout.

The case for keeping Mattingly

There is the obvious Yankee connection between incoming ownership figurehead Derek Jeter and Mattingly. The two were teammates in 1995, Jeter’s rookie season and Mattingly’s last in Major League Baseball. But that’s hardly enough to constitute job security.

In truth, the Miami Marlins manager hasn’t been dealt the best hand. He’s performed admirably regardless of circumstance.

The team appeared destined for a postseason appearance before the tragic passing of Jose Fernandez derailed them in the closing months. In 2017, it’s hard to argue he was given a team capable of competing without catching every conceivable break.

The Miami Marlins achilles heel has been their starting rotation. You could argue they’re a legitimate staff ace away from being one of the top teams in the National League.

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Even after struggling mightily through the month of May, Mattingly managed to keep the team from totally falling apart. He’s handled the rotation and bullpen carefully. His decision to move Giancarlo Stanton up to the second spot in the lineup is largely responsible for his resurgence.

If pitching wins ballgames, it’s a miracle that he’s managed to guide his club to 67 of them.

The case for moving on

It doesn’t need to go any deeper than the desire to bring in someone new. Roster changes are on the way for the Miami Marlins. How widespread those will be remains to be seen. But Jeter & Co. could conceivably want to start fresh; a complete reboot.

If Derek Jeter is going to reshape the Miami Marlins roster, it stands to reason that he’d want a to chose his own manager.

Who would stand to replace Mattingly with the lineup card is anyones guess. It’s a safe bet that if Jeter relieves Mattingly of his duties it’s because he has someone specific earmarked to replace him.

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Ultimately what will determine Mattingly’s future with the team will have little to do with how well he managed it. That’s what’s so vexing. If Mattingly is let go, he’ll be a casualty of circumstance, not performance.