Don Mattingly & lame duck managers

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The Dodgers manager already went through one season on the final year of his contract, and doesn't want to do so again.

With the World Series starting on Wednesday and the embargo on news, official or otherwise, from MLB not wanting to upstage its premiere event, it's unlikely we will have a resolution to the Don Mattingly managerial situation this week.

Mattingly wants a multi-year deal to return, not wanting to be a lame duck for a second straight season, having his authority compromised and having to answer questions about his job status throughout the season. His option for 2014 vested with an NLDS win over Atlanta, but as Mattingly said on Monday, "That doesn't mean I'll be back."

The Dodgers may or may not work out a multi-year deal for Mattingly to return. I think he will return on a multi-year contract, with the apparent cost to Mattingly losing his bench coach in Trey Hillman, his right-hand man for his three years at the helm. I think Mattingly will get a multi-year deal, with a new front-office-approved bench coach who can help guide Mattingly in whatever areas they feel are lacking.

It's understandable that Mattingly doesn't want to go through another year of being a lame duck. General manager Ned Colletti thinks Mattingly did just fine under that pressure the first time around.

"It's a personal taste. There are a lot of guys that have won at the end of their contract. There are people that have won the World Series in that situation, there are people that have had three-year contracts that didn't survive the first two weeks," Colletti said on Monday. "It's all a personal approach to it. I think he did great."

Here is a look at the nine managers other than Mattingly who managed in 2013 in the final year of their contract:

Charlie Manuel

In his ninth year as Phillies manager and about to miss the playoffs for the second straight season, Manuel was fired on Aug. 16 and replaced by Ryne Sandberg, who signed a three-year deal to remain in Philadelphia on Sept. 22, plus an option for 2017 as well.

Eric Wedge

In his third year in Seattle, the Mariners won 71 games and he and the club parted ways at the end of the season. The situation with Wedge, who had a .438 winning percentage in Seattle, was complicated somewhat when he missed time in July and August after suffering a mild stroke.

Jim Leyland

The Tigers, like the Dodgers, lost in the league championship series, in the second of two straight one-year deals for Leyland. But those one-year deals were by Leyland's choice, as the 68-year-old ultimately decided to retire on Monday, taking a front office job instead.

Joe Girardi

The situation most comparable to Mattingly was in New York, where a team with a bloated payroll was decimated by injuries. The Yankees under Girardi missed the playoffs but were competitive, winning 85 games, and he signed a four-year extension on Oct. 9.

Ned Yost

The Royals were competitive in 2013, finishing with 86 wins, their first .500 season in 10 years. Yost was rewarded with a two-year extension on Oct. 1.

Ron Gardenhire

Gardenhire is a fixture in Minnesota, and after the Twins won 66 games in his 12th season, their third straight year with at least 96 losses, he signed a two-year extension to return.

Walt Weiss

The first-year manager won 74 games with the Rockies, who signed a three-year deal on Oct. 15 to return to Colorado.

Terry Collins

Collins won 74 games in his third season in New York and has a .463 winning percentage in three seasons, and the Mets gave him a two-year extension on Sept. 30, the day after the regular season ended.

Davey Johnson

He announced that 2013 would be his final season as manager when he signed an extension with the Nationals, but even that contract had a job for him in 2014 as a special assistant.

So of the seven non-retiring lame duck 2013 managers, two were let go and five were signed to multi-year contracts to return, including three from losing teams. None were made to go through the lame duck scenario again.

"We dealt with that all year long, and it puts me in a spot where everything I do is questioned. I'm basically trying out or auditioning," Mattingly said. "To me we've reached that point, three years in you either know or you don't."

Including Mattingly, there are seven managers as of right now heading into 2014 as the final guaranteed year on their contract. Four of those managers, including Mattingly, made the playoffs in 2013, and I would be money on at least Clint Hurdle and Mike Matheny, if not more, signing shiny new extensions before next year.

Yes, Mattingly has his strategic flaws. Sure, he bunts too much, and I'm sure people cringed when he pinch ran for Adrian Gonzalez in a tied Game 1 of the NLCS, only to watch his replacement Michael Young hit into two double plays.

But in the bigger picture, Mattingly has respect in the clubhouse, an absolute must with the collection of high-priced talent on the roster. There have been no real blow ups in the locker room, like there were under the previous regime with Joe Torre, Larry Bowa and Bob Schaefer.

Either give him a multi-year deal or fire him, but I'm with Mattingly on this one. If the Dodgers want Mattingly to manage, and bringing back seven of his eight coaches is a strong indication they do, sign him to a multi-year deal.

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