Posted on November 10, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Miami Marlins are set to undergo a lot of changes under a new ownership group. But the manager’s job won’t be one of them. The team confirmed Thursday night that Don Mattingly will return in 2018 for what will be his third season with the team.
Marlins CEO and part owner Derek Jeter had declined to give 100% assurance that Mattingly would be retained when speaking last month. However, Marlins President Michael Hill made it seem as if firing Mattingly was never given any serious consideration. It also removes any thought that the New York Yankees could consider Mattingly for their managerial vacancy.
“I didn’t know a decision had to be made,” Hill said Thursday when asked about Mattingly’s status. “He’s under contract. Just spoke to him today, he’s doing great.”
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The Marlins have finished with a losing record in each of the past two years under Mattingly. However, Mattingly has two years left on the four-year deal he signed prior to the 2016 season. The Marlins appear intent on honoring that contract and Mattingly appears optimistic about what he can accomplish in Miami.
“It’s an exciting time in Miami. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to be a part of something,” Mattingly said in a Facebook interview Thursday. “I feel like what we’re building is going to be something truly special. I think with Derek’s leadership and the leadership of the new ownership, we want to put something in place that’s very special. I think that’s going to happen. You don’t know the timetable of that, but I’m really excited to be a part of this.”
Of course, while Mattingly expresses enthusiasm for Miami’s future, he also acknowledges that a rebuilding process is coming. But it’s important to note that both Mattingly and Hill appear to be on board with Jeter and the new ownership group.
“Our last winning season was 2009,” Hill said Thursday. “We won 77 games this past year. What we have been doing has not worked or been good enough. As we move forward and look forward, we know we have to improve in multiple areas. Our goal is to be playoff contenders year in and year out and bring a championship back to South Florida.”
There have already been reports that the Marlins are intent on trading several players this offseason, most notably outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Dee Gordon and Martin Prado have also been mentioned as players the Marlins would like to trade. Outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna are also players who are receiving interest from teams. However, reports indicate that the Marlins would prefer to keep both in Miami.
Whatever happens this winter, it seems likely that the Marlins will have a much different roster at the start of the 2018 season than they did at the end of 2017. In all likelihood, the Marlins won’t be set up to be a competitive team in 2018. But at least for now, the Marlins appear confident in Mattingly being the manager who leads them through the rebuilding process.