The Miami Marlins have struggled mightily on the field the past few seasons, but they believe the future will be better. That’s why they have reportedly offered a contract extension to manager Don Mattingly.
Mattingly is 272-364 as he completes his fourth season with the Marlins. That makes him the longest-tenured manager in the franchise’s 26-year-old history, and it’s apparently not over yet.
The team hasn’t confirmed the contract extension but is expected to do so Friday, when the Marlins open up a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.
Sources: The #Marlins and Don Mattingly agree to a contract extension. Official announcement coming tomorrow.
— Daniel Álvarez-Montes (@DanielAlvarezEE) September 20, 2019
Out of left field?
The Marlins’ previous ownership group, headed by owner Jeffrey Loria, hired Mattingly in 2015 after he ended a run of three straight National League West titles with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The contract extension comes as a bit of a surprise. Ownership has changed in Miami — Derek Jeter now heads up baseball operations — and Mattingly has just a .428 winning percentage with the Marlins, including an NL-worst 53-99 this season.
However, the Marlins like the direction Mattingly has taken with a young team. They’re also clearly grading on a curve, considering Miami has traded away stars Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto in the past two seasons.
Don Mattingly’s two-year contract extension as Miami Marlins manager may look like a shocker considering the club’s record. Management believes he has extracted the best out of a bad situation and can help transition young position-playing talent to complement plenty of pitching.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 20, 2019
A bright future, they hope
The NL East has become an arms race, with the Atlanta Braves building a juggernaut around their young core and the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets willing to spend big money in free agency.
But the Marlins think they can compete soon. Miami has several promising young players. That includes slick-fielding shortstop Miguel Rojas, who also is expected to sign a two-year contract extension. The Marlins also have the fourth-best farm system in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. They figure to add another top-five pick to it in next year’s draft.
With one Yankees legend running the front office, another will remain in charge in the dugout. Jeter and Mattingly hope the young talent blossoms soon.
Marlins will make the official Mattingly announcement tomorrow. Derek Jeter will be on hand. Very good call by team. Well deserved.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) September 20, 2019