When Don Mattingly asked the Los Angeles Dodgers to pick up his option for 2014, they said no. This isn’t new in Major League Baseball, but for a manager who has had the respect of his players and has gained the admiration of fans throughout baseball, they must have a reason. The Dodgers apprehension is placed in their expectations of winning the World Series.
The Dodgers have given Mattingly a $200 million-plus payroll. The phrase, you get what you pay for, is evident in every aspect of the lineup. Their pitching staff is arguably the best in baseball. Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, and Aaron Harang give Mattingly eight starters for five positions. The bullpen is loaded as well.
The outfield has three starters who have been All-Stars. Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier, give the Dodgers one of the best in baseball. If Crawford is healthy, there won’t be any doubt how good they’ll be. Mattingly has the talent in the outfield to win 100 games
Mattingly has an infield that features All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and at short-stop former National League batting champion Hanley Ramirez. Mark Ellis plays a solid second base, with Luis Cruz at third. Cruz only had 4 errors in 2012. Behind the plate is A.J. Ellis. Ellis had a breakout season last year and could become an All-Star this season.
Dodgers’ ownership should have high expectations this year. Mattingly offers solid leadership and has handled the contract situation with his usual poise and determination to make everyone better. Mattingly has all the tools for the task. He just needs to do the great job he is capable of, and every expectation will be met.