Manso: Loria finally gets it right with Mattingly
Local 10 Sports Director Will Manso applauds the choice for Marlins manager
MIAMI – I'm about to type a sentence that I've rarely said: Jeffrey Loria got it right.
You heard me.
The Marlins owner made the correct move. He hired Don Mattingly to be the team's next manager.
The fact that it's Miami's 8th manager since 2010 tells you all you need to know about Loria's decision making, but in this case he's on target.
After the debacle that was bringing GM Dan Jennings to the dugout to manage with no experience, Loria needed to bring someone on board with a real resume. Mattingly has that. More so than any other available candidate.
Sure, the Marlins could have found candidates with even more experience, but most of those guys would have been past their primes. They didn't need a retread. Miami needed someone fresh, yet someone who isn't foreign to a baseball dugout.
His playing resume speaks for itself. He would have been a Hall-of-Famer if not for a bad back that cut his career short.
As manager he's proven to be a winner, as well. The knock in Los Angeles was that he was given a record setting $300 million dollar payroll and couldn't get to a World Series. On the surface, that is true. But dig a little deeper and you'll see he actually did a very good job in an awful situation.
Mattingly led the Dodgers to three straight division titles before parting ways this offseason. He did this with a very flawed roster that included overpriced and overrated outfielders, no real starting pitching after an elite duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zach Grienke and a bullpen that looked like it was constructed by picking names out of a hat.
Yet, many Dodgers players spoke of Mattingly being great to them and being a player's manager. He would take guys individually and confront issues. He handled the media criticism well and still came out of LA as a highly respected manager.
The knocks on Mattingly normally center around him being an "old school" manager who doesn't use new-age analytics enough. That's probably fair. But he comes to a Marlins organization that has been one of the worst in baseball at using advanced stats. They're trying to change that and Mattingly has appeared open to do the same.
Believe it or not, what the Marlins really need is a voice. They had a very loud one in Ozzie Guillen just a few years ago and that imploded. Mostly because Loria got in the way and grew impatient.
Could that happen again with Mattingly? Of course. That can always happen when it comes to Loria.
But I think Mattingly may also know how to work with Loria a little better than most. It's no secret the Marlins owner has been a fan of Mattingly since his playing days with the Yankees.
Loria is fond of him and truly respects his place in the game.
Mattingly won't take crap (for lack of a better word) from Loria, yet he also likely won't make it a media circus here in dealing with Loria like Guillen did.
The Marlins are a major work in progress. They have a decent core but a broken down farm system. Combine that with an owner who's proven reluctant to spend money wisely and have patience and you get a situation that could always fail.
That's just life with Jeffrey Loria. We're used to it. There is no quick fix.
But in a best case scenario, the Marlins needed someone who could come in and start to right the ship. Mattingly is that man.
I'll say it again. Jeffrey Loria got it right.
Let's just hope his love for Mattingly allows him some patience. They'll both need it with this franchise.
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