The Miami Marlins officially announced Don Mattingly as the 15th manager in franchise history in a press conference on Monday. After reports of an agreement last week, the organization chose to wait until after the World Series ended to make an official announcement.
Mattingly takes over for Dan Jennings, who filled in on an interim basis after the team fired Mike Redmond in May. Jennings was also let go as general manager last week.
Mattingly, 54, comes over from the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team he parted ways with last month after losing to the New York Mets in the National League Division Series and after five seasons. He compiled a .551 win percentage (446-363) and three straight NL West titles, but the Dodgers’ struggles in the postseason haven't allowed them to win a playoff series since 2013. There was renewed pressure on Mattingly to lead the Dodgers to the World Series after several years of underachieving, but he failed to win an NL pennant despite the league's highest payroll.
The Marlins, on the other hand, had the lowest payroll in baseball each of the last two seasons, but their new manager isn’t worried about the differences he faces in resources.
"I felt very comfortable with our group here, that we're building something," Mattingly said. "We want to sustain it. But also understanding the challenges of this market. It's not a New York or an L.A. where you have kind of an endless financial situation. You have to be able to build and continue to build."
Mattingly takes over a roster of young, talented players headed by slugger Giancarlo Stanton pitcher Jose Fernandez. Last week on Dan Patrick’s nationally syndicated radio show, the new skipper spoke about the talent on the club and the dynamic of the Marlins organization.
"It's just an interesting place because of the young talent they have and the challenges that it brings with a young roster, with a situation that's not going to go out and buy players," he said.
History suggests that if Mattingly lasts the entire length of his four-year contract, it would come as somewhat of a surprise. He’s the team's eighth manager since 2010 and in the 22-year history of the club no manager has lasted four full seasons. Fredi Gonzalez managed more games for the Marlins than anyone else (555), but was fired during his fourth season with the club.
“I signed a four-year deal, but I plan on being here at least 10,” Mattingly said of his new position.
Despite Miami’s revolving-door policy when it comes to managers, team president David Sampson says the hope is for Mattingly to be a long-term answer.
"I want him to be Pat Riley, that's the goal," Samson said, referring to the former Miami Heat coach and current team president. “Someone who would bring sustained winning. I want him to be here for a very long time, and I want him to win championships. That's always been our goal.”
The Marlins have endured six straight losing seasons and haven’t made the playoffs since 2003, when they last won the World Series.