Barring a miraculous finish, the Miami Marlins are heading for their second consecutive last-place finish and their 10th consecutive losing season. The roster has been torn down since the Derek Jeter/Bruce Sherman ownership group took over prior to last season and the results on the field reflect that.
Not surprisingly, From the Associated Press:. The team is not good and Mattingly is in the final year of his contract. On Wednesday, Jeter was noncommittal when asked about Mattingly's future with the organization.
"There hasn't been a decision yet," Jeter said before Miami hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night. "To be honest with you, we've been so focused on the trade deadline and see what we could do with it."
"At the end of every year, we sit down and evaluate all members of the organization, whether it's the manager, coaches, player development, scouting, front office," he said.
"To be fair to Donnie, it's something we need to talk about sooner rather than later," Jeter said. "There are a lot of things that go into it. Donnie has done a good job."
For what it's worth, Mattingly told the Associated Press he would like to return to the Marlins -- "I'd love to be back, especially if they want me back," he said -- though he added he is comfortable with whatever happens.
The Marlins signed Mattingly to a four-year contract that made him one of the 10 highest paid managers in baseball under previous owner Jeffrey Loria. Given the team's financial situation, it's difficult to believe the Marlins will be willing to retain Mattingly at a salary commensurate with his stature. The team has been saving money wherever possible.
To be fair, MLB teams in general are going younger (and cheaper) with their managers. The Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Rangers, Reds, Red Sox and Yankees replaced established veteran skippers with first-time MLB managers within the last two years. Replacing Mattingly with a younger (and cheaper manager) would follow the industry trend.
There is also an interesting PR dynamic with Jeter and Mattingly. They are two Yankees legends -- they were teammates in 1995, Jeter's partial rookie season and Mattingly's final season -- and Jeter firing Mattingly might not go over well with fans or in the media. Letting Mattingly go when his contract expires is probably the least painful way to make a change.
Jeter has hired several former Yankees teammates and friends since taking over the Marlins -- Jorge Posada is a special advisor and former Yankees minor league coach Gary Denbo runs the farm system -- so perhaps Miami's next manager will be another member of Jeter's inner circle. One name to watch: Scott Brosius, who has extensive coaching experience.
The Marlins have some young talent, especially on the pitching side, and at some point soon they need to pick the manager and coaching staff they believe can develop that young talent into winning big league players. It's an important step in the rebuilding process. Mattingly probably won't be their guy, but picking a new manager is not something to be taken lightly.