Thursday night the Los Angeles Dodgers mutually parted ways with manager Don Mattingly after being eliminated the previous week from the playoffs early for the for third straight season. Overall, Mattingly had a very good regular season record with the Dodgers, clocking in at a .551 overall winning percentage but consistently could not get the Dodgers even to the World Series, let alone winning it. With a payroll over $200M, that just isn’t good enough.
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The problem with this is that the Padres already had an open manager search going on. In fact, the Padres, Mariners, Dodgers, Nationals, and Marlins at least will all have new managers for 2016. Already the Padres have seen one candidate Scott Servais take a job with the Mariners as they attempt to whittle down their own candidates.
While it is possible that AJ Preller will still try and interview Mattingly on his own, I don’t see that as very likely since they are already down the path with several other candidates. However, what the Mattingly firing does do is give those same Padres candidates a very attractive alternative in Southern California to pursue.
Bud Black, Ron Washington, Ron Gardenhire, and Don Mattingly all fit that profile of “veteran proven manager” with Matt Williams potentially in the mix but only a couple of seasons under his belt and the failure of 2015 fresh in his and his suitor’s memory. It would certainly appear that the Dodgers manager position might be the most coveted, with an unbelievably talented core already locked up and an ownership group that shows no bounds in spending money on the team.
The Nationals position would likely be second on that list, as they provide Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer on the same team and another stable ownership group that is willing to spend to get themselves over the hump and back into the post-season. Especially after their division rival New York Mets not only were able to leapfrog them in the standings but now are all the way in the World Series.
So that would put the Padres and Marlins next in the pecking order of unfilled managerial positions. Mattingly could be a great fit for the Nationals position, which might help the Padres in their pursuit of Gardenhire and that might push Bud Black over to Los Angeles as an option for them. No doubt Bud Black is using the results of what happened the last time a former Padres manager left for another NL West team as a predictor of how he can help the Dodgers thwart the Giants even-year Championship pattern next season.
The Padres can’t afford to let this manager search drag on too long, and if they find their man they need to hire quickly before more spots fill or more attractive manager options open up and take the best candidates.