Daily Distractions: Nomo, Gagne, Lo Duca, Gonzalez, Kent, Maddux join Mattingly, McGwire on HOF ballot.

Mark McGwire

Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire is listed on the Hall of Fame ballot for the seventh time. (Associated Press photo)

The 2014 Hall of Fame ballot was announced today, and the window for eligibility has struck the Dodgers square in the 2000s. Hideo Nomo, Eric Gagne, Jeff Kent, Luis Gonzalez, Greg Maddux and Paul Lo Duca are all on the ballot for the first time.

They join Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, hitting coach Mark McGwire, former catcher Mike Piazza and several other holdovers on a crowded field. Only 10 players can be listed on a ballot. Voting results will be announced at 11 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2014, on MLB Network and the web sites of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA.

Nomo was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1995 and no-hit the Colorado Rockies the following season at Coors Field. Gagne saved 161 games from 1999 to 2006 after converting to a reliever, including a record 84 in a row. Kent hit 75 home runs in a Dodgers uniform from 2005-08, finishing his career with 377 — 351 as a second baseman, an all-time record. Maddux made 19 starts as a Dodger in the twilight of a career that included 355 wins, eighth on baseball’s all-time list.

Lo Duca played seven of his 11 major-league seasons with the Dodgers, while Gonzalez spent one season (2007) in Los Angeles and was benched at midseason to make room for Matt Kemp.

Gagne and Lo Duca were both identified in the Mitchell Report as having been connected to performance-enhancing drug use. Their career numbers alone are enough to keep them out of the Hall, but the PED issue has proven impossible to overcome for even some of the best players on the ballot — McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and possibly Piazza. They’ll need to be named on at least 5 percent of all ballots to remain eligible.

McGwire (listed on 16.9 percent of ballots last year) and Mattingly (13.2) are closer to 5 percent than the 75 percent needed for induction. Players can remain on the ballot for 15 years after their retirement, and this will be Mattingly’s 14th appearance.

MLB.com has Hall of Fame profiles on several of the top Hall candidates, including Mattingly, McGwire, Piazza and Kent.

Some bullet points for a Mongolian Independence Day:
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Daily Distractions: Mike Matheny gets a three-year contract extension: What that means for Don Mattingly.

Don Mattingly

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (right) signed a three-year contract extension Wednesday. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (left) would like one of his own. (Associated Press photo)

It wasn’t the biggest transaction Wednesday, but certainly Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was paying close attention when the Cardinals signed manager Mike Matheny to a 3-year contract extension through the 2017 season.

Mattingly’s contract with the Dodgers is set to expire after next season. The two sides began talking nearly a month ago, since shortly after a season-ending press conference in which Mattingly actively lobbied for a contract extension.

Here is Matheny’s managerial record, via baseball-reference.com. Here is Mattingly’s.

Those numbers are similar. But there’s more to the comparison than just wins and losses and playoff appearances, and the actual negotiations won’t be so crude as sizing up the numbers and picking a number of dollars and years.

Still, negotiations between a manager and a team don’t quite work the same way as negotiations between a player and a team. There’s no “waiting for the market to settle,” as is currently the case in the heat of free agency. Matheny’s negotiations with the Cardinals reportedly lasted a week.

One major difference is that teams can’t quickly access the salary information of a manager on a whim. This isn’t a problem when negotiating with players, whose contract information is made available through the MLB Players’ Association. Sometimes a manager’s agent will make his client’s contract information available to the media; other times, the manager’s representative will have to dig up that information on his own. Still other managers don’t have an agent at all and negotiate for themselves (though this is not the case with Mattingly).

Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported this about Matheny:

Financial terms of his deal were not announced. Matheny made $750,000 before bonuses this past season. His new deal moves him up with managers of similar success and experience.

Two people with experience negotiating contracts between managers and teams told me that three-year contracts, like the one Matheny just signed, are common. One-year contracts aren’t popular for the reasons Mattingly cited. Two-year contracts aren’t very popular without an option for a third year, since a manger is merely signing up to be a lame duck the following season. So the three-year deal is a popular one.

There are some exceptions. Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa managed year-to-year in the final years of their contracts with the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively, because they were comfortable dictating their futures as their careers wound down.

Because there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement between owners and managers, teams are free to creatively throw bonuses and perks into contracts. Houses and cars aren’t uncommon. Sometimes the bonuses significantly elevate the actual dollar value of a contract. But these details are rarely made public and can be difficult for rival negotiators to unearth.

So will Matheny’s new deal have an affect on Mattingly’s negotiations? Maybe. But it’s not a simple cause/effect proposition that allows for educated predictions.

The length and dollar value of one contract doesn’t quite “set the market” for a similar manager like it would for a player or pitcher. It’s each man(ager) for himself.

Some bullet points for a World Hello Day:

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Don Mattingly confirms he and Dodgers are discussing new contract, finishes second in Manager of the Year vote.

 

Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly finished second in National League Manager of the Year voting. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

Don Mattingly took advantage of his 15 minutes of fame Tuesday to confirm that he and the Dodgers are discussing a new contract.

“We’re in talks right now and things are going good,” Mattingly told the MLB Network. He added that there is no rush to complete a deal.

Talks began shortly after Mattingly said in an awkward season-ending press conference that he didn’t want to return in 2014 on a one-year contract. His current contract expires after next season.

The occasion of the interview was somewhat bittersweet. Mattingly was on television just before the National League Manager of the Year announcement. That award went to Pittsburgh Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle, who collected 25 of the 30 first-place votes.

Mattingly finished second, with two first-place votes, 17 second-place votes, and seven third-place votes. Hurdle was listed second on five ballots. Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez finished third and St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny fourth.
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Daily Distractions: IBWAA announces its end-of-season awards finalists.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu (center) was honored at an awards gala in Korea yesterday. Lots of awards these days. (Photo by Jun Park/Asia Society)


The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America was founded here, in the awards capital of the world, so naturally the IBWAA gives out awards at the end of the season. This year there are “finalists” too, just like the BBWAA has “finalists” who really represent the top vote-getters in each category.

The IBWAA has more categories, and more Dodgers, than the BBWAA awards. Clayton Kershaw (National League Cy Young), Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu (NL rookie of the year), Don Mattingly (NL manager of the year), and Kenley Jansen (best NL reliever) are all in the running for the virtual awards.

Jose Fernandez and Adam Wainwright are the other Cy Young finalists, same as the BBWAA awards. Fernandez is the other rookie of the year finalist. Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel are the other finalists for best reliever. Fredi Gonzalez and Clint Hurdle are other manager of the year finalists, (same as the BBWAA.

Winners will be announced as follows:

Relief Pitcher, Friday, November 8, 2013, 11:00 a.m. PST.
Rookie, Monday, November 11, 2013, 11:00 a.m. PST.
Manager, Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 11:00 a.m. PST.
Cy Young, Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 11:00 a.m. PST.
MVP, Thursday, November 14, 2013, 11:00 a.m. PST.
Some bullet points for a Thursday afternoon:

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Yasiel Puig, Don Mattingly, Clayton Kershaw are finalists for BBWAA awards.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw won the 2011 National League Cy Young Award and is the favorite for the award again. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers have three finalists for the annual year-end Baseball Writers Association of America awards.
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Analysis: After a bad week for clarity, the road map is clear for Don Mattingly and the Dodgers.

Don Mattingly contract

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, foreground, appeared pensive throughout an end-of-season press conference Monday that focused mostly on his contract status. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

At Dodgers headquarters, this was not a good week for clarity in the information age.

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Dodgers coaches Davey Lopes, Rick Honeycutt, Tim Wallach, Mark McGwire will return in 2014.

Don Mattingly

The Dodgers declined the 2014 contract option on bench coach Trey Hillman (left), but will bring back pitching coach Rick Honeycutt (right). Manager Don Mattingly, center, remains in limbo after publicly doubting his future Monday. (Getty Images)

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, first base coach Davey Lopes and third base coach Tim Wallach will return to the Dodgers’ coaching staff next year, as the Dodgers renewed the 2014 options on each of their contracts Tuesday. Hitting coach Mark McGwire, already under contract for next season, is also returning.

The Dodgers are still hoping to retain bullpen coach Chuck Crim, assistant pitching coach Ken Howell, and assistant hitting coach John Valentin, but none have a contract option for 2014.

That leaves bench coach Trey Hillman as the only member of the Dodgers’ 2013 coaching staff who might not return. Earlier in the day, the Dodgers declined the option on Hillman’s contract but invited him to remain in the organization.

That scarcely adds up to an overhaul of a staff that manager Don Mattingly was hoping to keep intact. The larger question, of course, is whether Mattingly himself will return.
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Dodgers, Don Mattingly have a contract for 2014, but questions remain.

What could have been a routine press conference to recap the end of the Dodgers’ season got interesting in a hurry Monday.

After sharing their thoughts about the 2013 campaign, which ended with a six-game National League Championship Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, manager Don Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti were asked about Mattingly’s status for 2014.

“My option vested once we beat Atlanta,” Mattingly said. “That doesn’t mean I’ll be back.”

With that, the floodgates opened.
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Reports: Don Mattingly to return in 2014.

Andre Ethier Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly will manage the Dodgers in 2014, according to multiple reports. (Associated Press photo)

Even before a Source With Knowledge of Don Mattingly’s Situation anonymously confirmed that Don Mattingly’s situation looked good for 2014, it had come to this: The Dodgers doing anything less than picking up the team option on his contract would be a surprise.

Whether it was Ned Colletti or Stan Kasten or Mark Walter or Magic Johnson, anybody I spoke to recently about Mattingly’s performance was upbeat. Not tepid. Not cautious. Always positive, though always unwilling to go on the record about 2014 — anonymously or otherwise. (In fact, Kasten gave the Daily News a very cold shoulder — the New York Daily News — in a typical exchange about the subject yesterday.)

So it came as little surprise last night when reports surfaced that Mattingly is indeed coming back next year.

There’s still no mention of who will manage the Dodgers beyond next season. Maybe that hasn’t been decided yet.

There’s also an important, lingering question of when it was decided that Mattingly was still the right man for the job. What was the tipping point in the front office’s thought process? Johnson’s World-Series-Or-Bust attitude apparently didn’t apply to the manager, but was reaching the NLCS the minimum requirement for picking up Mattinglys option? The timing of Tuesday’s reports suggests it’s possible.

For now, we know that Mattingly doesn’t feel that he is managing for his job. That’s a significant vote of confidence. It means more than any platitudes issued through the media. It means Mattingly can relax enough to try to win a series, knowing his job doesn’t depend on it, in reality if not the court of public opinion.

What was Kenley Jansen doing on the mound at the end of Game 3?

Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen recorded the final out of Game 3, a non-save situation in the Dodgers’ 13-6 win. (Getty Images)

Don Mattingly‘s decision to use Kenley Jansen to record the final out of Game 3 of the National League Division Series has at least one detractor: Pedro Martinez.

Jansen struck out Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann on four pitches to close out a 13-6 win. To Martinez, who spent the first two years of his 18-year major-league career with the Dodgers, that was a sign of panic.

“With all due respect to [Dodgers manager] Mr. Mattingly, I did not see the need for [closer] Kenley Jansen to be in [Game 3],” Martinez said Sunday on TBS. “I did not see the need for Paco Rodriguez to face more than one batter, he’s a specialty lefty. I can only imagine seeing this kind of scenario in a World Series game, tied in the ninth inning. I don’t know what Mattingly is going to do [then] if he panics in a game with a seven-run lead. This looks like more of a panic-time than anything else.”