After speaking with the media early this week, Marlins CEO and co-owner Derek Jeter stated that the team’s manager Don Mattingly will be back in 2019.
Whether it is an official announcement or a question answered in a media session earlier this week, Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly will return to the club in 2019.
It’s a question I have asked myself, given the team’s woes and the fact Miami has not had a winning record in any of the three seasons he has been the front man in south Florida. Given the team’s desire to change and a franchise approaching 100 losses this season, it’s a topic that had to have been on the minds of many Marlins fans.
Now, team owner and CEO Derek Jeter has put the question to bed. At least for the upcoming season. If I said I wasn’t shocked by the announcement, but still a little suspicious it would be accurate, At some point, given Miami is still a few years away from contending, the subject of Mattingly and his contract with the team must become a topic of conversation.
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And just so you all know, Joe Girardi is still out there without a job and remains a viable candidate for any of the managerial jobs that are about to open up in a couple of weeks.
"“Is he going to be back in 2019?” Jeter said per a story on ESPN.com. “He’s under contract. Yeah.”"
The Marlins will finish last in the NL East in Jeter’s first year as CEO. They began their final home series of the season Thursday with a record of 59-92 (now 60-93), giving Mattingly a three-year record of 215-259 (.454). Those kinds of numbers keep your seat in the clubhouse fairly warm if not hotter than the south Florida summer.
Still, Jeter’s vote of confidence in his one-time Yankees teammate means “Donny Baseball” will remain a fixture in Miami once again.
Mattingly has become one of the organization’s top salesmen, pitching the changes with the franchise as a sign of good things to come – in time. The process is slow, the moves are calculated. The waiting has become the hardest part. Making fans believe the new owner and the front office is pushing all the right buttons.
The 57-year-old Mattingly still pushes the agenda of a team going through a transition and his faith in the new ownership group, especially Jeter.
"“The one thing you can count on with Derek is that what he says, he’s going to do,” Mattingly said. “He talked about building the minor league system, building this thing the right way. I don’t think there’s one thing he talked about publicly that he hasn’t backed up with his actions. You trust what he says and what he’s going to do.”"
Mattingly’s success in Los Angeles with the Dodgers was one of the reasons he was originally hired by the Marlins when Jeffrey Loria was the owner and Dave Samson was president of the organization. The notion Mattingly and Jeter reunited once again in a place crying for a winner just made sense. Then, the firesale took place last offseason and fans and national media began the rallying cry of wanting to win now, rather later.
The minor league system is better thanks to trading away top stars (I know, you have read this before) and bringing along young pitchers who will become solid MLB players in the future. It’s part of the “blueprint” Jeter introduced prior to the beginning of Spring Training.
Jeter told the media he knows the ultimate barometer of his success and failure with this organization is wins and losses. He did not suffer too many losses as a player in pinstripes. It has been something he along with Mattingly, have had to learn to adapt to.
"“That’s the ultimate judge for a team — wins and losses,” Jeter said. “But this is a transitional year for us to learn as much as we possible could about this organization.”"
Faced with dwindling attendance figures and no power in the middle of the lineup, Mattingly will end this season and began a new path toward 2019. The Marlins figure to revamp part of their roster once again, this time potentially releasing more veterans and adding more youngsters for the future. It’s a slow jog through a marathon, where patience is a thing not many of us have as fans.
The attendance figures are something Jeter (and Mattingly) are well aware of and are looking to help numbers rise, not continue to plummet.
"“That’s something we need to improve,” Jeter said. “Where we’re starting from, the only way we can go is up.”"