Former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly interviewed for the Marlins’ managerial job Monday, and both sides are interested in striking a deal in the coming days, barring something unforeseen.
Mattingly met with Marlins officials in Miami and additional conversations with him are expected.
Mattingly, 54, likes working with young players and is intrigued by the idea of managing the Marlins’ roster, according to an associate. He wants assurances that he could hire his own coaches, but the Marlins have said publicly they will grant that authority to anyone they hire.
He also wanted to make sure an offer would give him financial security, but finances weren’t expected to be an issue because owner Jeffrey Loria has been willing to spend generously on managers that strongly appeal to him.
Mattingly earned $1.5 million this year as Dodgers manager and was reportedly set to make $1.6 million next season, which the Dodgers would not owe him if he lands another managing job for at least that amount.
Loria, who lives in New York, always has been fond of Mattingly dating to his days with the Yankees, where he spent his entire 14-year career, made six All-Star teams and was named American League MVP.
The Dodgers and Mattingly announced a “mutual agreement” to part ways last week. Mattingly won 55.1 percent of his games in five seasons there and led the Dodgers to the past three National League West titles but never made a World Series. The Dodgers apparently wanted a bigger return on their $272 million payroll, baseball’s largest in 2015.
Washington and San Diego also have managerial openings, but neither is believed to have targeted Mattingly, who wants to manage next season.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said he is “confident that Don Mattingly is going to be a World Series champion manager” and praised how he handled interaction with players.
“Nothing was ever done in a group setting,” Ellis said. “It was always one on one, which is the way I think it should be done. Nobody wants to be embarrassed or called out in front of teammates. He would have a coach grab someone and have them come to his office. He’d hash it out there and have a conversation.”
Mattingly received high marks for how he handled players.
“I think he had a good sense of when to approach players, not just when to do it, if to do it all,” general manager Farhan Zaidi told The Times. “But also the timing, when to let things calm down for a day or two before approaching guys. Knowing when to push buttons and when to let things go.”
Larry Bowa (twice), Manny Acta, Bo Porter, Alex Cora, Rick Renteria and Phil Nevin also have interviewed for the Marlins’ managerial job.