Daily Distractions: Don Mattingly, Dodgers are reportedly close on a contract extension, and the timing makes sense.

Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly and Ned Colletti might have a more pleasant news conference in the near future than their last one. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)


If the Dodgers and Don Mattingly reach agreement on a contract extension this week, the timing actually makes sense.

According to multiple reports Monday morning, the two sides are finally close to a contract that would keep Mattingly on the bench beyond this year. (His contract is set to expire at the season’s end.) It just so happens that Mattingly is in town for the Dodgers’ annual prospect camp. When he isn’t in town, Mattingly is more likely to be found on a farm in Indiana, or a college basketball game.

He mentioned all the way back in November that the Dodgers had begun talks on an extension, and that there was “no rush” to complete the deal. Two months later, with Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti talking to the prospects, this seems like a logical time for the two to wrap up their own discussions.

As we mentioned last week, Mattingly’s status was going to be a burning question unless an extension was completed before spring training. That it’s taken this long to complete could simply be a reflection of Mattingly’s preference as he went about his usual off-season routine. It could also be a reflection of the complicated nature of manager’s contracts, which are not as uniform as player contracts.

Either way, this appears to be one storyline we can put to bed soon.

Lots of bullet points today:

• Mattingly and Yasiel Puig made one list of 10 baseball people to watch in 2014.

• Mattingly is still hovering on the cusp of Hall of Fame eligibility and Greg Maddux is still unanimous among the 133 ballots revealedMike Piazza is polling at 72.2 percent, just short of the 75 percent needed for induction. If he gets in, will the Dodgers retire number 31?

• Remember that class-action lawsuit I mentioned Friday in which the Dodgers (and the Lakers, and Time Warner) are named as a defendant? It’s scheduled to go to a hearing downtown on Jan. 28.

• Hyun-Jin Ryu’s second single has been released in Korea. If you watch the video of the first, you’ll see how much (rather, how little) he seems to be singing. Since we don’t have video of the second single, we don’t know which voice belongs to Ryu.

• Random thought: If Ryu were American, what would the reaction be? As an example, what if Pharrell got Matt Kemp — who loves to sing in the clubhouse — into the studio to record a few bars? How would that go over?

• Former Dodgers infielder Ryan Theriot retired.

• Happy birthday to Ralph Branca, who turns 88.

• Many words of remembrance have been penned in the last 24 hours for Jerry Coleman. Bill Center of UTSanDiego.com offered a good, short read. Coleman did a nearly two-hour interview with SABR in 1988; the audio can be heard here. Vin Scully “took over” the Dodgers’ Twitter account to release a statement.

• We learned a little about how the Dodgers’ in-house blog, Dodgers Insider, will work. The Dodgers’ prospects camp won’t open to the out-of-house media until Wednesday; Jon Weisman already spoke to Maury Wills about how Wills addressed the prospects. Fantastic quote from Wills: “I spiked just as many people as Ty Cobb.” Apparently Cobb liked Wills’ style.

• A fun read: News that the Dodgers were moving to Los Angeles was broken to the good people of Oklahoma City on the side of an airplane.

• Skip all the Hall of Fame discussions in this Deadspin article about Paul Lo Duca, straight to the last paragraph: “Here are some notes on Lo Duca from a Dodgers front-office meeting in October 2003: ‘Got off the steroids… Took away a lot of hard line drives… If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That’s his makeup. Comes to play.‘”

• This isn’t even close to an example of Jeff Beck at his best, but “Hi Ho Silver Lining” often starts playing in my head when someone points out that a silver lining exists:

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