Ninety-two wins don't go as far as they used to.
Despite managing the Dodgers to a 92-win season and a National League West crown, manager Don Mattingly and the club parted ways Thursday, a week after the team lost to the Mets in the NLDS. Mattingly had one year left on his contract at the time of the decision.
"There's always a desire to label this -- was he let go, did he resign?" said general manager Farhan Zaidi. "I've had a level of cynicism when I hear 'parting of the ways.' We can sit here with all sincerity, that's how it came about. Donnie feeling like he needed a change, us feeling like taking the organization forward, if that was his state of mind, it organically evolved that maybe it's a good time for a change. There are more intricacies I don't want to get into here, but both sides felt it was time for a change."
Both sides claim the decision was mutual, and both have already turned their attention to new opportunities. Mattingly told reporters he "definitely" wants to manage again, something that could happen as early as next year. The Marlins were one team said to have interest in Mattingly in the wake of Thursday's news.
The Dodgers, behind president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and Zaidi, have also addressed their opening, saying they would like to have someone in place by baseball's Winter Meetings in early December. They said previous managerial experience isn't a prerequisite, but Zaidi said they would like a manager who can bring "accountability to the clubhouse."
Whoever ends up at the helm will inherit a team that can contend from day one. The Dodgers pushed the World Series-bound Mets to the brink in the NLDS, and it's a team that went to the postseason in each of the past three seasons under Mattingly. Zack Greinke is expected to test the free agent waters, but key cogs like Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Kenley Jansen remain under team control through next season.
Mattingly will also carry cache into his next job. The 54-year-old had a winning record in each of his five seasons with the Dodgers, winning at least 92 games in each of the past three years. The Marlins will likely not be the only team to kick the tires on the free agent manager.
The Mattingly move carried the day, but it wasn't the only managerial news to hit the wire Thursday.
The best news came out of Boston, as Red Sox manager John Farrell was deemed in remission following treatment for stage 1 Non-Hodgkin's Burkitt lymphoma. Farrell was diagnosed on August 14 and entered into a nine-week treatment program to combat the cancer.
"I am extremely thankful for the outpouring of support I have received from the Red Sox, my family, friends, and fans throughout this process," Farrell said in a press release Thursday. "I am also especially thankful for the talented doctors who cared for me in Detroit and here at MGH. I look forward to getting back to work and bringing another championship back to Boston."
In Seattle, Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais is considered a "strong frontrunner" for the Mariners' managerial opening, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Servais and new M's general manager Jerry Dipoto have a relationship from Dipoto's time in Anaheim, and Servais has overseen the Angels' scouting and player development operations in recent years. Tim Bogar is believed to be the other leading candidate for the job.
The Nationals and Cal Ripken Jr. have not spoken about the team's managerial opening, Mark Zuckerman of Comcast SportsNet reported Thursday. Zuckerman also said Ripken "is not expected to after wrapping up postseason announcing duties for TBS." And after their postseason run ended Wednesday, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Thursday that Joe Maddon's entire coaching staff has been invited back for next year.
Profar Returns To Action
Jurickson Profar's up-and-down young career was back on the upswing Thursday.
The infielder, once considered the game's top prospect, made his Arizona Fall League debut Thursday with two extra-base hits, including a game-tying home run in the ninth. Profar served as his team's designated hitter in the contest.
Profar's budding career was derailed by a right shoulder injury that stole his entire 2014 season and limited him to 12 minor league games this year. Profar hasn't played the field since a spring training game on March 22, 2014.
He's throwing from 105 feet but won't play his native position, shortstop, during the AFL season, either, as he works back from the shoulder woes. He'll continue his throwing program when the AFL season ends on November 19 and will be held out of any winter leagues.
When healthy, Profar has shown all the tools to be a star. He advanced through the Rangers' system quickly, making his major league debut at 19 years old. He played in 85 games for the Rangers as a 20-year-old in 2013.
Quick Hits: Alex Gordon is expected to be alright after suffering a bloody nose during batting practice Thursday. Gordon was hit in the face by a ball during the session, but it won't keep him out of Friday's Game 6 ... Juan Uribe (chest) is not expected to be on the Mets' World Series roster. Uribe suffered a bruised check in late September, and while he's been doing baseball activities it seems as though he'll run out of time with the Series starting up next week ... Dylan Bundy (shoulder) was added to the Orioles' AFL roster. Bundy has a chance to win a bullpen job in Baltimore next season ... After going 13-3 with a 1.92 ERA in 21 starts with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League, Miles Mikolas recently signed a new two-year, $5 million deal to stay in Japan. Mikolas was sold to the Japanese club by the Rangers last year ... Drew Pomeranz underwent shoulder surgery Wednesday for a clavicle resection. Pomeranz, who had a 3.66 ERA and 82/31 K/BB ratio over 86 innings this past season, should still be ready for spring training ... Kyle Blanks, who was outrighted off the Rangers' 40-man roster on Wednesday, elected to become a free agent. He batted .313/.352/.522 in 67 at-bats with the club last year before undergoing surgery on both Achilles tendons in early September ... Cubs president of baseball operations Epstein said he plans to approach Dexter Fowler about a return to the Cubs. Fowler, who scored 102 runs atop the Cubs' lineup in 2015, is a free agent this winter ... Dan Haren announced his retirement from baseball. The 35-year-old owned a 3.75 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 2,013/500 K/BB ratio over 2,419 2/3 innings in his career despite throwing 88 mph.