After three consecutive years of coming up just short in the post season, Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly was fired. Three division titles, two NLCS (National League Championship Series) appearances, and one NLDS (National League Division Series) appearance, are the things that highlight Mattingly’s résumé as a skipper. Not bad huh? Unfortunately for him, this team has the highest salary cap in all of baseball, so finishing in anything that isn’t first place is not enough.
The team was built around players like Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and batting superstars such as Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig, amongst others. Greatness was expected by everyone who watches baseball, but it was not achieved. Proving one of two things; money can no longer buy championships, or Mattingly just wasn’t the guy to lead the team to the promised land.
With arguably two of the best pitchers in baseball, and one hell of a batting lineup, you would assume they could at least beat their cross town rivals the San Francisco Giants. Wrong again. A team that spent considerably less money than the Dodgers have won 3 titles out of the last 5 years. Since 2010 the Dodgers have made trades, and signed players to multi million dollar contracts in an effort to beat their rivals and win the title. Since it has not happened, they finally decided that it was time to part ways with Donnie Baseball.
Some would say that it is unfair that managers are always blamed when the team doesn’t win. They’re not the ones pitching, allowing runs, or responsible for scoring them. But in a team with so much talent, and so many options, he did have control of who played, and things such as batting order and pitching matchups. But with so much talent, the most important thing this manager needed was respect. Respect from his players that is. In a team with so many talented players making so much money, keeping their egos in check is key. In the last game for the Dodgers against the Mets this year, Mattingly was seen in a heated argument with outfielder Andre Ethier, letting the viewers know that respect is the last thing he had from his players.
This upcoming 2016 season will prove who was right. Maybe there was no way to keep those egos in check, and Mattingly really did everything he could. Or he was the problem, and with a new manager maybe they’ll finally go all the way. Either way, I hope Donnie Baseball continues with another team, as I for one believe this current Dodgers team is simply uncoachable.
***ALL IMAGES IN THIS POST COME FROM: http://www.bleacherreport.com