MIAMI – Derek Jeter signaled Thursday that Don Mattingly is expected to return next year as manager of the Miami Marlins, providing some dugout continuity for a last-place team in transition.
Mattingly has one season to go on a four-year contract he signed when he joined the Marlins for the 2016 season.
“Is he going to be back in 2019?” Jeter said. “He’s under contract. Yeah.”
The Marlins will finish last in the NL East in Jeter’s first year as CEO. They began their final home series of the season Thursday with a record of 59-92, giving Mattingly a three-year record of 215-259 (.454).
Mattingly has said he likes the challenge of developing the Marlins’ many young players. He also has embraced Jeter’s approach to rebuilding a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2009, the longest streak in the majors, and hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003.
“The one thing you can count on with Derek is that what he says, he’s going to do,” Mattingly said. “He talked about building the minor league system, building this thing the right way. I don’t think there’s one thing he talked about publicly that he hasn’t backed up with his actions. You trust what he says and what he’s going to do.”
This year’s poor record was expected after the Marlins traded half their starting lineup for prospects last offseason to reduce payroll and fortify a weak farm system.
Even so, losing has been tough for Jeter, who played for a perennial contender when he was shortstop for the New York Yankees.
“That’s the ultimate judge for a team – wins and losses,” Jeter said. “But this is a transitional year for us to learn as much as we possible could about this organization.”
The Marlins will finish last in the majors in attendance, and last in the NL for the 13th time in 14 years. Their crowds have averaged fewer than 10,000, the worst figure in the majors since the Montreal Expos’ final season in 2004.
“That’s something we need to improve,” Jeter said. “Where we’re starting from, the only way we can go is up.”
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