Washington Nationals Rumors: Is Don Mattingly Using Nats Opening To Get A Better Deal With Los Angeles Dodgers?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY SportS

Before the 2013 All-Star break it looked like the Los Angeles Dodgers and their manager Don Mattingly were about to part ways. But then the Dodgers started getting things together and went on a run that saw them roll on to the NL West title and a playoff spot.

However, there may be trouble in paradise and perhaps Mattingly could be a free agent. In the last 24 hours Mattingly told a press gathering that his option automatically vested when the Dodgers took on the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. However, he was very clear: “That does not mean I will be back with the Dodgers.”

It’s obvious Mattingly wants a long-term deal, and while he also made it clear that he would love to return as the Dodgers manager there are other options. Translation: Give me a contract extension or my next call will be to the Washington Nationals about their opening.

Clearly Mattingly is using the Washington job and also the Detroit Tigers‘ opening as leverage to get a long-term deal with the Dodgers. One would have expected the Dodgers front office to have at least talked to Mattingly about an extension past the 2014 season, but if they don’t he has an out in his contract that allows him to leave the Dodgers.

He is a very respected baseball man who learned at the feet of Joe Torre, and as a manager he has shown an ability to work well with both rookies and vets.

Look, if “Donny Baseball” is on the open market then Mike Rizzo, the President of Baseball Operations and GM of the Nationals, should be talking with him — Now. But my guess is that the Dodgers, who do not know the meaning of money will give Mattingly a three-year deal.

But if  Mattingly wants to talk to the Nationals they should listen.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award winning producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and add him to your Google circles.

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