When the Yankees passed on Don Mattingly in favor of Joe Girardi to take over as Joe Torre’s successor, Mattingly left to join Torre as hitting coach conveniently leaving him available to take over the Yankee job should Girardi fail.
Well, with Girardi two wins away from taking the Yankees to the World Series the news has broke out that not only is Mattingly willing to listen to offers for a managerial spot, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, he would strongly consider taking one if offered.
Asked if he would entertain job offers outside Los Angeles, Mattingly said, “Oh yeah, no question. It’s not something I really want to deal with at this time because my focus is here on the team right now. But there’s no question I want to manage. I hope it happens sooner rather than later, but the more you’re around this game as a coach, I feel, the more you learn.’’
Would he be picky about where he goes?
“It depends,’’ he said. “I don’t want to go anywhere that doesn’t want to win. I’ve been around this game now long enough and played for and coached some very good teams, so you want a team that’s on the verge of making the playoffs.
“It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t go manage a young club that’s building toward that. As long as the organization wants to get there, I’d be fine with that. I’d understand the situation from the standpoint of I know you have develop younger guys, but I would want a commitment from the organization to back where I’m trying to go.’’
Dodgers bench coach Bobby Schaefer said Mattingly is ready.
“Donnie played for me [in the minors] in 1980, and he’s still the same guy,’’ said Schaefer. “He’s very humble and he’s learned a lot.
“A lot of great hitters can’t be good hitting coaches, but he’s been both. He really relates well to the players. I think he’d do a great job if he gets the chance. He’s ready.
“He’s worked with some pretty outstanding people and learned from being around them. I think if the right thing came along, he’d take it.’’
Having been a life-time Donnie Baseball fan, I was really sad when the Yankees elected to go with Girardi over him, but I understood. Girardi himself had the makings of a decent manager and getting them this far, even with a huge payroll, means he’s likely to be around for at least a few more years. Mattingly isn’t going to just sit around and wait for the Yankees to come calling, he’s going to go out there and find himself a job.
Unfortunately this means that just like another former Yankee, Lou Piniella, Mattingly may not come back to New York for a long time. As with Piniella and the Yankees, the desire is there, but a combination of Pinella’s teams doing well and Torre managing for 12 years here the timing was just never right.
The other bad part about this is that Mattingly has played and coached a ton of games without ever winning a World Series. If he lands with an American League team I’m going to have to root against him even though it will break my heart.
Still, best of luck to Donnie Baseball.