Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng announced during Thursday’s game broadcast that the team and manager Don Mattingly mutually agreed to pick up the option in his contract, keeping him as the team’s manager through at least 2022.
The Marlins normally make these types of decisions after evaluation in the offseason. However, Ng told the media Thursday the option had to be picked up by July 15th, which pushed the Marlins to make the decision now. Mattingly said it was choice to have an option that had to be activated during the season during negotiations for his last contract.
“I like it like this,” Mattingly said. “I don’t want it to be dragging on til the end of the year.”
Ng said that the Marlins wanted Mattingly around and he was excited to stay on as well, leading them to both agree that his option would be activated. She explained why to the media during the game.
“Donnie has been a consistent force, he’s been stable here,” Ng said. “In terms of what our vision is and what our mission is, Donnie’s always been on board and been very positive with those young players.”
Marlins captain Miguel Rojas has been managed by Mattingly his entire career, beginning with the Dodgers then teaming up with him when Mattingly went to Miami. He called Mattingly his “baseball father” and said he was part of his family. He spoke for the team about what it means for him to stay.
“Having a guy like him in front of the team is one of the best decisions this organization could make,” Rojas said.
Mattingly said he was happy that the organization sees him as part of the future.
“It’s a good feeling to be wanted,” Mattingly said. “As long as Derek thought I was the guy, then it’s a good spot for me. Now it became twofold, moving onto Kim, I want her to feel like I’m the right person also.”
Mattingly said sticking around was an easy decision because he likes where the team is going.
“I trust in Kim and I trust in Derek,” Mattingly said. “I like her vision for our club and the way she looks at it and that’s obviously in step with Derek and what he’s trying to do.”
Mattingly has been with the organization since 2015, and is the longest-tenured manager in the history of the club. Keeping Mattingly around means the Marlins will opt for stability over seeking a new head of the team. Ng said through all the ups and downs Mattingly never flinches, which is what the Marlins like about having him at the helm.
“Donnie is the same guy whether we’re winning or whether we’re losing,” Ng said. “His philosophies reign and he tries to get every guy to be consistent on an everyday basis.”
Mattingly saw the organization go through the rebuilding process when new ownership took over, as they moved on from All-Stars and MVPs such as Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton and JT Realmuto. He said everything he has been through in Miami has taught him patience.
“We had to build this thing and part of that was moving Christian, and Stanton, and JT, and all these guys that are obviously really good players to be able to get to the point where you think it’s sustainable, so you kind of had to learn that whole process,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly said that was part of what brought him to Miami and he is happy to stick around and hopefully watch it pay off.
“When you come to Miami, you come with the idea that you knew where the organization was at the time, and you wanted to be part of building something,” Mattingly said. “We wanna get to the point where we’re accomplishing what the goal is, and so that I think is the key. You feel like you’re getting closer to that.”
Mattingly, 60, has notched a 345-446 record as Marlins manger, but led the team to their first Postseason appearance in 17 years in 2020. The achievement earned him National League Manager of the Year honors for last season.
Mattingly was asked if he and his family had put any thought into how long he would like to continue managing. Mattingly said they had talked about, and that they all enjoy where he is at.
“I feel good and [his wife] Lori seems to be happy with this, [his son] Louis likes coming to the ballpark,” Mattingly said. “It’s fitting in to where everybody likes it.”
As for how long?
“15 [years] is out of the realm of my thinking.”
The Marlins will certainly hope it will take a lot less time than that for what they have been building with Mattingly to pay off.