LOS ANGELES -- In one sense, the immediate future of Don Mattingly as manager of the Dodgers has already been decided. But after Monday's bizarre press conference at Dodger Stadium, his future in Los Angeles is very much up in the air.
"My option vested once we beat Atlanta, but that doesn't mean I'll be back," Mattingly told reporters on Monday, with general manager Ned Colletti sitting beside him.
Mattingly doesn't want to come back on just a one-year deal, basically a repeat of 2013, which was full of questions about his status.
"This has been a frustrating tough year, honestly. I think when you come in with a club like this, basically as a lame duck, with payroll and the guys that you have, it puts you in a tough spot in the clubhouse. 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."
Coletti said personnel meetings would happen this week, including Monday.
"I hired Donnie. I've been supportive of Donnie all the way through. I have a lot of respect for this guy. He kept it steady through a tough period of time. He kept our team together. I've been a supporter of his since the day he walked in as a hitting coach six years ago," Colletti said. "We're going to discuss everything internally before we discuss it externally."
Colletti said this was the first meeting with Mattingly since a brief 15-minute talk immediately after Friday's loss to the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS. Which makes one wonder why the Dodgers planned to have Colletti and Mattingly meet with the press before any of this was resolved, since Mattingly's status was clearly going to be the main topic of conversation on Monday.
"When you're put in this position, the organization basically says we don't know if you can manage or not. That's not a great position to be in as manager," Mattingly said. "That's the way it is, and that's they way the organization wanted it last year, so at this point it is what it is."
At issue seems to be two things. Mattingly certainly wants a multi-year deal, and has much more leverage to command one than he did a year ago. Mattingly would also like all of his coaches to return.
"If it was up to me they'd be back, but it's not up to me," Mattingly said. "I'm happy with the guys in that room in there. You've got quality baseball people who are unselfish, that they want what's best for the organization and want what's best for the players. They are tireless workers, and are very persistent in what they do and in their beliefs. That room is full of character, of guys who aren't going to quit when times start to go bad."
Colletti said of Mattingly's managerial future, "This is going to be resolved very quickly."
Monday was a weird day at Dodger Stadium, in that both Mattingly and Colletti talked repeatedly about how they both want Mattingly to manage the Dodgers. But for two men who said repeatedly they didn't want to talk about the subject, they sure had a lot to say.