Don Mattingly and Trey Hillman chat before the game against the Arizona… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Though refusing to speak about the Dodgers’ talks with Don Mattingly about a new contract, team President Stan Kasten said Wednesday that he envisions Mattingly remaining the team’s manager beyond next season.
“I hope and expect him to be the manager of the Dodgers for a long time,” Kasten said.
Mattingly, who is under contract for 2014, told MLB Network on Tuesday night that he and the club were discussing a new deal.
“We're in talks right now,” Mattingly said. “They are going good. No real hurry or rush for me at this point; I don't think for the Dodgers either. So things are good, just working, moving forward, hoping to put something together more for the long term.”
The team option for next season in Mattingly’s contract became guaranteed when the Dodgers advanced to the National League Championship Series. But in a news conference at Dodger Stadium last month, Mattingly implied he might not return without a multiyear deal.
Soon after, Mattingly’s agent said Mattingly would honor his contract. Kasten made a similar public statement.
Regarding what Mattingly said at that news conference, Kasten said it was the result of a misunderstanding. Although Kasten wouldn’t elaborate, he hinted that Mattingly thought he might be fired.
“It was a day of awkwardness and confusion that cleared up, literally, in about 24 hours,” Kasten said. “We take the lion’s share of the blame for whatever confusion resulted because of the timing and sequence of meetings that were beginning that afternoon.
“There was never any confusion in our minds that we wanted him back. I think the whole organization feels like I do and like I have from the first day I came in, which is that I’m a big fan of Donnie’s and I’ve become an even bigger fan in my time with him. I see qualities in him that I think make him a candidate to be a long-term manager, chiefly his demeanor and handling people.”