If the Dodgers hire Joe Maddon, they can expect a call from the commissioner.

Mark Topkin, the Tampa Bay Times’ beat writer, has the story on the stunning departure of Joe Maddon today. Read it for yourself, but the possibility of Maddon managing the Dodgers only seems stronger by the end of the piece.

As we noted earlier, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said that Don Mattingly “will be our manager next season.” It was a statement Friedman had to make, if only to put Matingly at ease. But if Mattingly had a short leash for failure before Maddon opted out of his contract, where does that leave him now?

Moreover, what if something changes? Say Friedman (and/or the new general manager, whoever he is) decides he wants to fire Mattingly and hire Maddon. Can they possibly do so without giving the appearance of impropriety?

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Joe Maddon is a free agent, but Andrew Friedman backs Don Mattingly (again).

Joe Maddon

Former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon worked with current Dodgers executives Andrew Friedman (left) and Gerry Hunsicker (center) in Tampa Bay. (Associated Press photo)

Joe Maddon unexpectedly opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday morning, raising speculation that new Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman would hire his former manager to replace Don Mattingly in Los Angeles.

Not so, says Friedman.

“As I said last week, Joe and I enjoyed a tremendous relationship working together in Tampa Bay and I wish him nothing but the best wherever his next stop will be,” Friedman said in a statement released by the team. “However, nothing has changed on our end. Don Mattingly will be our manager next season and hopefully for a long time to come.”
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Report: Hyun-Jin Ryu vows to take better care of himself this winter.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Dodgers head athletic trainer Stan Conte (right) checks on Hyun-Jin Ryu after the pitcher strained a muscle in his right buttock during an August game in Atlanta. (Associated Press photo)

Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu said at a press conference in South Korea Wednesday that he will begin his off-season training earlier in hopes of preventing injuries.

Ryu spent time on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation in May, missing three weeks. The 255-pound left hander missed three weeks at the end of the season when the injury flared up again. In mid-August, he went on the DL with a muscle strain in his right buttock.

“I’ve had three injuries this year, but at least I didn’t miss as much time as some other players did,” Ryu said, according to the Korea Times. “I don’t want to go through the same fate next season. I think I am going to have to take care of my body better in the winter. I will start my offseason training earlier than before and focus on preventing injuries.”

Whether quitting smoking is part of his plan remains to be seen.

Dodgers’ Kershaw, Greinke, Gonzalez and Uribe are Gold Glove Award finalists.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is a finalist for a National League Gold Glove Award, which he won for the only time in 2011. (Associated Press photo)


Dodger pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and third baseman Juan Uribe are finalists for National League Gold Glove awards.

The quartet was announced Thursday by Rawlings, the equipment maker which sponsors the award. Winners will be revealed on ESPN2 Nov. 4. The winners have already been chosen; the three finalists at each position are really the top three vote-getters.

We’ll have a bit more on each player’s credentials in a bit. Here’s the full list of NL Gold Glove Award finalists:
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Dodgers prospect Darnell Sweeney falls triple short of cycle in AFL.

Darnell Sweeney

Dodgers prospect Darnell Sweeney, who fell a triple short of the cycle Wednesday in the Arizona Fall League, hit a game-winning single to beat the Angels in a Freeway Series game in March. (John McCoy / Staff photographer)


Darnell Sweeney hit two doubles, a home run and a single in five at-bats Wednesday for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League.

The Dodgers prospect needed a triple in his final at-bat in the eighth inning to complete a rare cycle. Instead he doubled off Braves prospect Ryne Harper, settling for a 4-for-5, four-RBI performance in the Desert Dogs’ 10-1 win over Peoria.

Sweeney, a 13th-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2012, spent all of 2014 at Double-A Chattanooga. The versatile 23-year-old posted a .288/.387/.463 slash line and went 15 for 31 in stolen-base attempts. His batting average was above .300 before a late tailspin, and he led the Southern League in walks.

A switch hitter, Sweeney is batting .387 in 10 AFL games. He’s played second base, shortstop and center field.

“He has a chance to be a good player,” Sweeney’s Double-A manager, Razor Shines, said in a September interview. “The strong suit is that he can play all over and he can hit. He hits the ball hard.”

Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren has minor surgery.

Dan Haren

Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren matched Zack Greinke for the team lead with 32 starts in 2014. (Associated Press photo)

Dan Haren underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder this morning in a procedure performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Dodgers announced.

The 30-minute procedure was to clean out bursitis and the AC joint. He will start his rehab in about one week and is expected to be ready for competition at the start of spring training.

Haren, 34, went 13-11 with a 4.02 earned-run average in 32 starts last season. The right-hander was on the roster but did not make a start in the Dodgers’ NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. By pitching 186 innings, Haren triggered a player option for the 2015 season. He hasn’t formally exercised the contract option yet.

Front office hot stove: Josh Byrnes is hanging out with Stan Kasten in Arizona.

Several Dodgers prospects are playing in the Arizona Fall League this month for the Glendale Desert Dogs. So it’s no surprise that team president and CEO Stan Kasten would be in Arizona this week.

What might raise an eyebrow — we’re qualifying this as news with about 45 minutes left before the World Series begins — is that Kasten is reportedly hanging out with former Diamondbacks and Padres general manager Josh Byrnes:

Byrnes has been mentioned as a possible candidate to succeed Ned Colletti as the Dodgers’ general manager. The team hasn’t made an official announcement since Andrew Friedman announced Friday that he intended to hire someone to fill the position.

Clayton Kershaw chosen as Baseball America’s Major League Player of the Year.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter and 41 consecutive scoreless innings in 2014. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)


Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is Baseball America’s Major League Player of the Year for 2014.

The honor doesn’t come with a physical award, but it does come with a snazzy magazine cover article. Here’s a snippet:

Kershaw has positioned himself to do what might be regarded as borderline heretical: surpass Sandy Koufax as greatest pitcher in Dodgers history.

Koufax was 26 when he embarked on five magnificent seasons. He led the NL in ERA each season from 1962-66, winning three Cy Young trophies and one MVP award. He retired at age 30, because of an arthritic elbow.

Kershaw is 26 now, poised to win his third Cy Young Award, and the MVP too.

Dodgers prospect Scott Schebler nominated for AFL player of the week award.

Dodgers outfield prospect Scott Schebler was a runner-up for the Arizona Fall League player of the week award (for the week ending Sunday).

Schebler went 5 for 13 with a home run, a double, three RBIs and six runs scored in four games last week for the Glendale Desert Dogs. He’s 8 for 28 (.286) with three walks in eight games to begin the AFL season.

Schebler, who finished last season at Double-A, could be a Double-A Tulsa or Triple-A Oklahoma when the 2015 season begins.