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Don Mattingly’s extension shows Marlins’ future remains bleak under Derek Jeter

Sep 17, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly (8) looks on against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the recent years of the Miami Marlins dysfunction, manager Don Mattingly has been the one constant in the organization. So, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has decided to sign him to an extension.

As first reported by Daniel Alvarez and confirmed by Jon Heyman, Miami is giving Mattingly a two-year extension with an additional option on his contract.

Many thought Mattingly would be on the hot seat after another sub-70 win season, the Marlins opted to make him the first manager in franchise history to last five seasons.

The Record: The Marlins quickly scooped up Mattingly following the 2015 season after he parted ways with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The organization hoped his success would carry over to Miami.

  • In Mattingly’s first season, Miami won 79 games with a team that featured J.T. Realmuto, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez.
  • After Fernandez’s tragic passing in September 2016, the Marlins won 77 games behind Stanton’s MVP season.
  • Following the sale of the team to Jeter’s group, Miami began its rebuild by trading away Stanton and Ozuna.
  • Miami has gone 116-197, a .376 winning percentage, over its past two seasons.

The Reputation: Mattingly is beloved in the baseball community, but being liked shouldn’t compensate for how bad his recent track record is.

  • Despite being praised for his work with young position players, Yelich didn’t become an MVP-caliber player until he left the Marlins.
  • Furthermore, catcher J.T. Realmuto became the league’s best catcher after being traded by the Marlins.

Miami is staking much of its rebuild on Mattingly helping to develop its young hitting prospects. To this point, the team is only getting worse and its immediate future remains bleak.

The Future: Miami is finally putting together a robust farm system, but its structure at the MLB level leaves doubt about if the players will be developed.

  • Outfielder Lewis Brinson, the centerpiece of the Yelich deal, has a .196/.244/.305 slash line in 631 at-bats for the Marlins.
  • Infielder Isan Diaz, Miami’s No. 2 prospect, is slashing .165/.259/.288 in his first 139 at-bats in the majors.

Miami could have brought in a fresh, young face to connect with the flurry of young players who will be part of this team’s futures. Instead, Jeter opted to keep the same voice in the clubhouse.

Constant turnover at manager can undoubtedly be a bad thing, but Miami is committing itself to another two years of a skipper who has proven he needs a loaded team to win.

The Marlins could have given their fans a new skipper to be excited about, but instead will send out the face that has been in the dugout for consecutive 95-loss seasons.

If Mattingly isn’t able to develop the players Miami’s scouts are finding and the minor-league coaches are developing, it will only hurt its future even more and further expose Jeter’s repeated failures as a baseball executive.