In case you haven’t noticed, the Miami Marlins, led on the field by former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, have a bad case of “L.A. creep”, and are quietly transforming into the Dodgers East.
When Mattingly and the Dodgers parted ways, one of the first things he tried to do was bring his L.A. coaching staff along with him to Florida. I get that.
Plenty of relocating managers try to coax their coaching staffs to join them in the new digs. Of course they do. The coaching staff has already bought into the manager’s style and agenda, and who doesn’t like working with trusted, familiar faces?
It’s also a good move for the coaches, who are usually let go along with the manager, as part of an entire regime change.
Since then the Marlins have signed ex-Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis to a one-year deal. The Dodgers East now had a membership of five and they were looking for more. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was on the market as a free agent, and the Marlins were definitely in the hunt. What are the odds ol’ Don had at least one phone call trying to convince Jansen to ditch the Dodgers and don some new duds?
The Marlins missed out on the elite closer, but they did manage to sign yet another former Dodger, Javy Guerra, to a minor league deal, with an invitation to Spring Training 2017.
Are the Marlins trying to turn Dodger Blue?
When Mattingly was manager in Los Angeles it was understood that the Dodgers’ front office had a heavy hand in game day decisions. Don Mattingly was the face in the dugout, but he met with his bosses before every game, and they told him what he was allowed to do, and what players he was required to start. I’m sure that wasn’t what he had in mind when he took the job as the Dodgers’ skipper. The Marlins have given Mattingly more autonomy, and he seems to be very interested in continuing to work with the talent that is coming out of Chavez Ravine.
I found plenty of fault with his managing decisions when he ran the Dodgers, but I’m confident the man wanted to win here. I’m equally confident he wants to win in Miami – and if the Marlins have to look like a Frankenstein-version of the Dodgers for that to happen, so be it.
I just hope he’s not on the phone trying to convince Vin Scully to spend his golden years in Florida – as the Marlins’ new play-by-play man.