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Turns out Don Mattingly had signed to succeed Joe Torre in the offseason

A done deal. Quietly, without announcement. Without a single other candidate. All very secretly.

Don Mattingly was going to be the next Dodgers manager before a single pitch was thrown this season, before the first player reported to spring training.

Major League Baseball knew, gave the Dodgers its stamp of approval, wished them all the best.

Tim Wallach never had a chance, but then neither did anyone else.

General Manager Ned Colletti said he told Joe Torre when he hired him, he wanted someone on his staff who could be his successor. And Torre pointed to Mattingly.

"Prior to last season we decided, 'OK, he would be the guy,'" Colletti said. "Cleveland has asked permission and Washington was asking permission, so there was somewhat of a clamor for him and it pushed us a little faster to come to a conclusion.

"He was somebody we had in mind since he first came here. I thought continuity was going to be important to us as an organization for a long time."

Of course, that was before the Dodgers morphed from a team on the cusp of the World Series to a team with a sub .500 record. And Mattingly, the hitting coach, saw his team become inept at the plate.

But none of that mattered, because they had their super-secret agreement signed and in place.

The Dodgers kept baseball apprised of their plans and of how they were grooming Mattingly. And baseball knew the Dodgers had a strong record in hiring minorities.

So when it came time to sign Mattingly, the Dodgers called MLB and were granted an exception to the rule requiring them to interview a minority candidate. A dog-and-pony show that would have served no one was avoided.

"We talked to Major League Baseball and told them what our thoughts were, and they gave us their blessing," Colletti said.

Mattingly said the contract was signed shortly before spring training.

"It was for hitting coach next year, just with language that eluded to if Joe stepped down," Mattingly said.

Which he did Friday, on to places unknown.

Earlier this month, Colletti told The Times that Mattingly was the leading candidate to succeed Torre. Guess so, since he already had a contract.

The Dodgers could have just told everyone what the deal was when the contract was signed. It’s hardly unheard of. What exactly would be the downside?

Instead, there was a lot of suspense for nothing. Well, maybe not a lot of suspense. It was always presumed Mattingly would be next. It just wasn’t presumed to have already happened.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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It looks like Ned Colletti. It talks like Ned Colletti. But it lies like Frank McCourt.
You can't tell the players without a program!

How very unfortunate for the Dodgers that we now replace Torre, a manager who could not distinguish between an effective and ineffective pitcher (see Monasterios, Sherill, Broxton, Ely with a person who cannot find his way to and from the pitching mound. In doing so, we lose the potential of Tim Wallach, the experience of minor league tested Ryne Sandberg, and a host of other youthful hopefuls who could infuse this organization with some spirit and gumption. The good old boy network is alive and well in Dodgertown. When Mattingly fails, who will be the next in line as the result of a backroom internecine deal? Bob Schaefer?

The imbecility of this organization knows no bounds. Mattingly had nevef managed anywhere, not even winter league. When he got to act as a stand-in manager, he proved that he didn't even know the basic rules of the game. And yet good old Ned Colletti, the guy who brought us Andruw Jones, Esteban Loiza, Jason Schmdt, and all the rest, just "knew that Mattingly was our guy." This is the GM who gave Juan Pierre $45 million for five years to ostensibly play centerfield, who told us that "you will really like watching Ryan Theriot," who traded his best third base prospect for George Sherrill. Ned should have stayed in Chicago, leafing through his Cub baseball cards, because he is a buffoon as a general manager.

This storied franchise could have had their pick of many top managing prospects, including of course Wallach. They could have interviewed all sorts of people in addition to Wallach, and picked the very best one. No, they just decided that they wanted Mattingly, never told any of the fans, ticketholders or media, and presented him to us on a plate, like a seedy restaurant serves a cheap hamburger. Could Mattingly be a good manager? Anything is possible, but from what I've heard of him in interviews, from the fact that he is a terrible hitting instructor, and from seeing him make two laughably inept managerial errors in the two games he got to manage, I would strongly bet against it. He will be a dud, just like Colletti is a dud, just like virtually every player that Colletti picks up is a dud, just like this entire franchise has become a gathering place for the flotsam and jetsam of baseball, a team of has-beens and never-wases.

Now I've got to wait for: 1)McCourt selling the team; 2)the new owner actually being someone who knows baseball and will spend money; 3)rhe new owner being smart enough to fire Colletti, who if left here will keep the Dodgers mired in the bottom, no matter how much money the owner spends; 4)the new GM knowing what he is doing, enough to fire Mattingly and bring in someone who is dynamic and smart. And most of these depend upon the Dodgers having really bad years, enough to keep the media from urging patience wih Colletti and Mattingly. So any way you look at it, it's going to be a very bad, very unenjoyable next three years at least. We can thank Bud Selig for all of it.

Who would want to be Donnie Mattingly? He has no support from either the media or fans. He is inheriting a terrible baseball team. He is working for the worst owner in professional sports who will continue to destroy the team, as he promised in yesterday's new conference.
Good luck, Donnie Baseball, you're gonna need it. I hope the media, the fans and more importantly, the players, give him half a chance.

The fans didn't know about Mattingley but the team found out at the All-Star break. I gave Colletti some slack because of the financial situation he was operating under but not anymore. This guy, if he ever had any integrity, sure learned fast from his master and that whatever he said previously and from now on will be looked on as lies and deceit. To do and say the things he has done and will do and say in the future shows that he has no backbone. He is a weak character that deserves to run with the McCourts.

Should never have let Jim Tracy get away - the misadventures of this organization the last few years are mind boggling.

I console myself by rooting against the Giants, no matter who they play, and gazing upon my recently purchased memorial plaque for the '55 Dodgers, available thru for $149 - a bit pricey but they did a beautiful job...

This is a complete EMBARRASSMENT!!!!!

Colletti's job is to hire, but instead he leaves it up to Torre to decide who will be the Dodgers next manager.....I can understand if Colletti would like some advice, but to put it in a contract is just absurd.....If Torre is this smooth to pull off such a deal, maybe he should become a GM.Somewhere other than L.A. of course, cause I'm sure glad to see him out of here.As for Colletti, not giving Wallach or any other potential candidate a look, should be immediately replaced by new ownership....Know we're stuck with "Lil Torre Donny Don".A nice guy but thats about it.

With the EMBARRASSMENT of the McCourts ,Torre and Colletti, the Dodgers have become an INFOMERCIAL this season.

What are you buying?

Sometimes I think Ned Colletti is one of those GM's written about in "Moneyball". He bases his decisions more on personal relationships than on qualifications. Its the reason we had the Giants players on the club when he first came here. He's a players' GM rather than a tactician or strategist. As they say in Moneyball, he likes the "good face". He's the reason we have Brad Ausmus, and all the other journeyman players that are good guys, but not beyond average in performance.

So Donnie signed a 3 year contract as a hitting coach with the language doctored to be manager if Joe decided to step down? What about the salary?
What does a hitting coach who doesn't know why his players aren't hitting make in salary these days?

Answer: About what McBroke can afford to pay his manager for the next 3 years.

What a crying shame ,I've been a Dodger fan all of my life and it's a sad deal when we can't go out and seek someone other than a manager in pinstripes wearing a Dodger uniform ! Wallach will come in mid season of next year mark these words . If mr. McCourt cant take care of his own Family misdeeds why does he or any one think that this secret deal will work for US ?

also heard ned traded two of our better prospects for a player to be named later and 6 weeks of an ineffective octavio dotel. and this guy is running our player personnel decisions? we've got a lying cheating owner, a lying incompetent GM, and an inexperienced lackey boob for a manager. what a joke this franchise has become. .

yea and his salary is defered through 2020-2021, we get it already.

Get real Dodger fans. Torre gave you what haven't had in a long time; a top tier playoff team with an actual chance of winning a World Series. Did Tracy? NO! Let Mattingly and Colletti do their jobs. Quit whining. You should be happy with what you have. Maybe even show up at the games on time and stay for ALL of the game. Bunch of loser fans! Which bandwagon are you heading for next?

Does it matter who manages this club. Hell, you could bring Manny Ramirez to manage these malingerers and 50,000 would show up in MannyWigs....
What a joke.

Dodger Franchise is not what it use to be! Pray the McCourts leave town and return to Boston! Fans wise up - you are financing and paying for the McCourts lavish lifestyle and high priced lawyers!


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