Latest Update News About Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Mattingly to Replace Torre at Dodgers’ Helm, Baker has nothing but praise for Torre, Talk of Joe Torre leaving: LOS ANGELES — Joe Torre will not return as Dodgers manager next season and his hitting coach, Don Mattingly, will replace him, the team announced Friday.
Torre, whose contract expires after this season, had been deliberating about whether to return after a disappointing season on the field and a distracting one off it, with the bitter divorce case between the Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie, serving as a backdrop.
In the spring, it appeared as if Torre, 70, would return next season, but discussions about a new contract — which he had sought — were abruptly tabled just before the season began.
Torre, whose decision not to return was first reported by The Los Angeles Times, was expected to hold a news conference later Friday. But a statement released by the Dodgers said that Torre had not made plans for 2011.
Torre has spoken of perhaps working as an adviser to General Manager Ned Colletti, but Torre said recently that if he did not return as Dodgers manager, it did not necessarily mean he was retiring from managing.
“The only reason I’m saying definitely not is because I don’t know what’s out there,” Torre said about closing the door on retirement. “I’m certainly not saying that to suck people in. It’s a decision that once I make it, I’m certainly not going to change my mind. If I decide I don’t want to ever manage again, you certainly don’t sit down and come back at 72 and decide you want to manage again.”
Torre’s name has come up in connection with two teams: the Chicago Cubs, who have an opening as a result of Lou Piniella’s stepping down last month; and the Mets, who are expected to fire Jerry Manuel at the end of the season. Asked specifically if he would have any interest in high-profile managing jobs, Torre said, “Everybody whose contracts are up are candidates everywhere.”
After 12 years as manager of the Yankees, during which he won four World Series titles but fell short of the Series in his final four seasons, Torre resigned rather than accept an incentive-laden contract that he considered an insult.
Shortly after, he signed a three-year, $13 million contract with the Dodgers who, after running through three general managers and two managers in the first four years of McCourt’s ownership, were seeking stability and credibility.
Torre largely delivered, as the Dodgers were transformed from youthful underachievers to a team that won consecutive division titles and lost to the Phillies in the National League Championship Series the last two seasons.
But this year the Dodgers took a step back.
They were undone by injuries to four starters — shortstop Rafael Furcal, outfielders Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier, and catcher Russell Martin — and some of their promising players, center fielder Matt Kemp, first baseman James Loney, closer Jonathan Broxton and Martin have not progressed as hoped.
When Ramirez was placed on waivers at the end of August, it was viewed as the Dodgers sending up a white flag.
They were 72-75, 11 games out of first place in the N.L. West, entering Friday night. Mattingly, who has coached at Torre’s side since 2004, joined him in Los Angeles when he was passed over for the Yankees job, which went to Joe Girardi.
The Dodgers announced that Mattingly would manage this fall in the Arizona Fall League. In his stints filling in for Torre, he has done little to inspire confidence.
In spring training, while Torre was in Japan, the Dodgers were penalized for handing a lineup card to umpires that did not match the one in their clubhouse. Then in July, after Torre had been ejected, Mattingly went to the mound to talk to Broxton with one out, the bases loaded and the Dodgers clinging to a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning. As he turned to leave, Loney called out to Mattingly, who headed back to the mound. That constituted a second visit, and Broxton had to be replaced. George Sherrill, the subsequent reliever, gave up the winning hit.
As the team’s batting coach, Mattingly has presided over a group that is 12th in the N.L. in hits after leading the league last season.