The Los Angeles Dodgers enter Friday with a 67-53, good enough for a 2.5-game lead over the rival San Francisco Giants in the National League West. Los Angeles has been through plenty of ups and downs, namely with injuries that forced the retooled front office to adjust on the fly.
After working to address the starting rotation and bullpen needs prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi have two August moves under their belt.
The first was replacing Lorenzo Bundy as third base coach with former Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. And more recently trading for veteran second baseman Chase Utley.
With Roenicke joining the Dodgers’ staff, speculation of him being a potential replacement for manager Don Mattingly was rampant. Zaidi did his best to douse those rumors, but conspiracy theorists can be difficult to convince of something other than their beliefs.
As for whether he may be feeling additional pressure given Roenicke’s presence, Mattingly dismissed that as being the case, according to Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
I’m not concerned about that. All I care about is winning,” Mattingly said. “This is a pretty good job to have. I’m sure a lot of guys would like to have it. That’s always the case.
Roenicke said he only joined the staff with Mattingly’s blessing. The Dodgers’ skipper went on to add he remains focused on the goal at hand:
Those things are so far down the road, you just worry about winning games. We’re in a pennant race.”
Mattingly is in his fifth season with the Dodgers, and is looking to guide the club to a third consecutive NL West division title. While he’s posted a winning record through each of his first four seasons, the Dodgers’ shortcomings in the postseason have hung over Mattingly’s head.
The 54-year-old manager is under contract through 2016 season after signing a three-year extension in January of 2014. If there is one narrative that speaks to all sports, it’s that winning cures everything, and Mattingly still has the opportunity to achieve just that.