Winter Meetings interview with Don Mattingly

Winter Meetings interview with Don Mattingly

Q. The last time we saw you you had some kind of weird press conference.

DON MATTINGLY: It was a year end meeting.

Q. Where you didn't quite know what to make of that. I guess since then, we've been told that there was a misunderstanding, I think you alluded to that, too, when you were on Dodger Talk a week ago. What was the misunderstanding?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, at this point ...

Q. The fans are wondering if ...

DON MATTINGLY: Well, that day it was fairly clear, like anything else that's happened in the past you don't continue to talk about. I don't think anybody really wants to hear about my situation. They'd rather hear about the players, how we're trying to win. It seems to be a situation that

Q. I think they want to know, because I think the feeling there was that you weren't happy with your predicament. What is the situation?

DON MATTINGLY: Again, I think it's something that you may think they want to hear it. But I don't think it's a situation that it's not something I've ever done in the past, talk about that stuff, where things are at or how they're doing. But I'm fine. I've talked to Mark and Todd and the ownership. Everything I'm fine with everything that's going on and how it's going on. So from that standpoint

Q. How do you feel differently than you did that day, how have those conversations changed the way you view your situation?

DON MATTINGLY: We've been able to talk, especially about how you feel about stuff.

Q. You still would want obviously an extension?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, I'd really not, again, I don't want to talk about I don't really think people want to hear about me. I think they'd rather hear about the team and where we're trying to go. And really that for me is what I'd rather have.

Q. Are you talking about any contract?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, we've talked. I'm happy with the way everything is going.

Q. Is there a chance that

DON MATTINGLY: I'm happy with the way everything is going. I know Ned doesn't want to talk about it, Stan doesn't want to talk about it. I don't think talking publicly is doing any good.

Q. Have they changed your contract or status?

DON MATTINGLY: Again, there's no reason to talk about it.

Q. But your contractual status today is the same as it was on the day?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, I'm good.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: I don't want to keep going into it. I'm comfortable right now. I'm not worried about it.

Q. Why are you comfortable?

DON MATTINGLY: I just am.

Q. You seemed worried about it when you talked to us that day.

DON MATTINGLY: I don't think I was worried about it. I expressed myself that day, I thought.

Q. Your feelings haven't changed?

DON MATTINGLY: No. I don't know what you mean "changed." We've had talks and everything ... I'm comfortable with everybody and the way everything is going.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: Nothing is going to keep me from being happy this year, okay?

Q. Any regrets about the way that went down or the way it was perceived?

DON MATTINGLY: I'm fine.

Q. Do you feel wanted? You sounded like that day that you felt like you weren't sure if they felt you were the guy?

DON MATTINGLY: Again, everything I've said that day is still the same.

Q. You're still not sure?

DON MATTINGLY: Everything I said that day, I'm not backing off anything I've said. I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Q. Can I ask about the third base situation?

DON MATTINGLY: Again, I think we're here, we're talking to I think Ned, I'm sure he's explained where we're at. And lots of stuff going on up there from different options and exploring all of them. I think we'll get it resolved, for sure. And I think we're all just working towards putting the best club we can out there on the field.

Q. Have you talked to Hanley at all about the possibility of moving to third?

DON MATTINGLY: I talked to him the first time we acquired Hanley, we talked about third and short. We talked about it during the season, different options. Hanley has never been anything but I'll do what you guys want me to do. Hanley's only request between short and third has been I don't want to go back to forth. I'll play anywhere you guys want me to play, I just don't want to go back and forth.

Q. Is there a certain time by which you want to be informed in the winter if you guys do go in that direction?

DON MATTINGLY: I don't have a timetable for anything. I don't know what's going to happen. I know we're continuing to work on how Ned and the whole group is working on putting the best club we can put out there.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: Again, we're going to try to put the best club we can possibly put out there. And that may mean Hanley at third, it may mean Hanley at short.

Q. Did you talk the past season or is this the first time?

DON MATTINGLY: Both seasons.

Q. When did it come up?

DON MATTINGLY: I think it was early we talked about it. I think it was when he first came up. And nothing changed. I wanted to make sure I stayed ahead of the game with that situation. I look at Hanley as obviously an unbelievable player, but he's been easy to deal with as far as he's been up front, and I think we've been up front with him about what the possibilities are. And he's always expressed obviously we'd like to let him know as soon as we could if something was going to change. But the biggest thing is not going back and forth.

Q. How many spots would you like to fill?

DON MATTINGLY: Obviously it's not my area as far as what we're trying to do. Ned and his group are building the club. Ned always talks about having depth in different positions when things happen. So we're going to try to, again, put the best club we can possibly put out there.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: I've heard it like everybody else. You hear everything here.

Q. Have you seen him play?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, definitely full of lots of stuff. So I've seen it on video.

Q. What was your impression?

DON MATTINGLY: He obviously looks like everything that we've heard and what you see is positive. Again, that's an area that's kind of above my pay grade in the sense that you hear the name, obviously a lot of people like what they see.

Q. There's going to be lots of competition for the bidding?

DON MATTINGLY: Seems like it.

Q. Do you feel like there are big name pitchers that are said to be available or expect to be available on the trade market.

DON MATTINGLY: I'm comfortable right now. I love that Dan Haren signed. I think he gives us another guy there. Josh is doing well. We expect him to be ready to go in Spring Training. Everything is going on schedule. So we're pretty comfortable.

Q. How about Chad?

DON MATTINGLY: Chad is on the move, same thing with his rehab, he's had no setbacks. He's still kind of on track to be at Spring Training. They'll probably look like everybody else. We're thinking he'll be throwing rehab games sometime.

Q. Do you have any plans for (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: No, nothing different with Yasiel than anybody else. He's been back and forth between LA and Miami. We really felt like he needed a winter to he played a lot of games the last year, and the first time he played in a few years, played a lot more games than he played in a few times. Early on in the winter they were talking about him working out right away. And I know our trainer was basically not wanting him to work out a while.

No plans to do anything special. A lot of guys come into camp in Arizona early and start working out. I'm not sure if he's got that in mind, but that's kind of a volunteer thing.

Q. Would you like to bring Mark back?

DON MATTINGLY: I've heard a lot of good things about Ellis, not only just from our people, but guys I talked to internationally, that sounded like this guy really has a chance to be a good player. Now, if that's instantly or if that's with a little bit of time. I've heard lots of different things, and Mark Ellis talks.

But there's been so many names that come through that room up there, different possibilities. And one domino falls this way, it may change this or that. It's hard to talk about just one guy.

Q. What's your opinion of catchers not

DON MATTINGLY: I talked to Bochy a little bit before we came in here. And I don't know what the rules would be with that, because if you're saying you can't hit the catcher, that means he can't block the base. So that's one thing there has to be some type of rules in place where he can't stand in front of the base, and that means you can't touch him. He would have to leave the base open so guys could go straight to the base. I really don't I think your opinions keep changing on things like that. You don't want to see a guy like Buster Posey, one of the best players in our game get hurt or Molina, or our own guy, we don't want to see him get hurt blocking a play, because that's the way they did it. If you say you can't touch the catcher, then you can't slow the guy down to get to home plate.

Q. Do you think he's going to be ready Spring Training?

DON MATTINGLY: Feels like Matt is going to come in Spring Training and be able to run, throw, and hit. I'm sure there is still some progression going on there, but I think we expect him to be ready to go.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, healthy, happy and productive together? Healthy, I think, is reasonable. And productive is reasonable. I don't know if, like I told those four guys last year, I know somebody is not going to be happy the days that they don't play. But also within that, we know that we found out if we can give Carl an extra day off here or there, he seems to be even better. We think Matt will probably need the same type of thing, where you're getting a day here and there. Andre, the same, days here and there.

Is that enough days where somebody is not happy? I'm not sure about that. But it's a good problem to have for me. I really like it that people are saying you can't have four. We had four last year that never seemed to work out. But there's nothing wrong with depth. And to me it's a good problem to have.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: I do.

Q. You prefer it that way?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, again, I don't get involved with that end of it, Ned is putting the club together. But as a manager I always prepare with the guys that we have. Let's make sure we're putting plans together. What are we going to do in these situations, how are we going to try this or that and continue on making plans.

Q. When you said that you expect all four to be there, is that because that's how you're planning or because you really think that the club is going to wind up keeping them?

DON MATTINGLY: Obviously I sit here and listen to these talks and all the rumors, and this, that and the other, so I know that obviously there's some kind of possibilities there. But in my mind I'm prepared with the guys that I have. And I've got two righties and two lefties. So I look at it like I've got four great outfielders. I think we can make that work.

Q. Is there anything in those talks that kind of intrigues you, though?

DON MATTINGLY: Just listening.

Q. Or is it all just kind of, I don't like the way this sounds? Are there some that you think, maybe that could work?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, I think we have certain areas and controls that we have. I think anytime you're listening to talks, all I do is hear names going back and forth, nothing that is really concrete, different thoughts. So, again, I think the whole thing is kind of intriguing, the whole process going on here. Everybody is trying to put their team together, the Diamondbacks, and the Giants, and we're all trying to put the best club out there.

So the whole thing is kind of wild how it gets started. But for me, I'm just listening.

Q. (INAUDIBLE) what will you work on this spring?

DON MATTINGLY: I just think this year for him is a full season. He doesn't come in partway. I think for me, I expect him to mature as a player. It gives us a full Spring Training or semi full Spring Training with the Australia thing. To come in and work on things and him be a part of everything we do, so, you know, we're all on the same page.

So I think just him being there another year, going through what he went through last year, coming back into Spring Training, I just expect him to continue to mature and continue to be a better player.

Q. The bullpen, Wilson (INAUDIBLE)

DON MATTINGLY: We haven't set any roles yet. I thought Brian was a huge sign. I thought that was huge for us, because it gave us two guys at the back end and either one of them can close games on the days that obviously we start off with Kenley back there at the end. But there's going to be days that Kenley is going to need a day off. So to have Brian there is a great feeling. But also to know that the way Brian pitched last year, the last two innings you feel like you're in good hands when you get the ball to the eighth inning.

It just allows everybody to slot in below them and us to kind of mix and match below that. I know Ned is working on a lot of names still for that. And I know Ned has mentioned different times about looking for different names in the bullpen. We're still looking at that. So we'll figure that out as we get there. But it's nice to know that those last two guys, the guys at the end of the game are pretty solid.

Q. With everything that went on with Arizona last year, is that going to be sorted out in Spring Training, and not be an international incident?

DON MATTINGLY: We're going to play baseball. I'm not worried about anything.

Q. Have you talked to any free agents?

DON MATTINGLY: Have I?

Q. Any of your former players or potential future players?

DON MATTINGLY: I have not talked to any. Usually certain times in the past Ned will ask me to have a conversation with one guy or another. And we haven't had any of that.

Q. Not Mark Ellis, either?

DON MATTINGLY: Huh uh. Kenley took me on a boat ride for about five minutes, until his boat broke down, and he had to drag me back.

Q. In the water?

DON MATTINGLY: I jumped out and swam and pulled it, Aqua Man.

Q. You actually went to Curacao?

DON MATTINGLY: I did. That's where I heard bullpen the kid Guerrero. There was a guy, Robert Einhorn I played with, I loved him.

Q. Were you there on vacation?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, just chilling.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: I know Hensley is over there and Kenley, and those guys I know. We had dinner one night.

Q. When you saw Guerrero on video, where was he playing, what position was he playing?

DON MATTINGLY: Short. It was just a workout video.

Q. You haven't seen him play second base?

DON MATTINGLY: Huh uh. Talked to Bob Engle, though, and some of the guys. So I think they all feel like he can play.

Q. Why did you go there?

DON MATTINGLY: Curacao? A month or so ago. After the season at some point. After the season at some point.

Q. You guys have been relatively quiet this week. Is that indicative that you guys are happy with what you have at this point?

DON MATTINGLY: I think you look at our core group of guys, you start looking at Adrian and Hanley and Kershaw and Greinke, and the whole outfield with Matt and Andre and Carl, we're not sitting here having tons of holes to fill. I know Ned it doesn't seem that way up in the room. Those guys are working hard and kind of seemed like they're kind of uncovering every stone to try to get the best club. It feels actually busy. But I know that we're just not coming here looking for the big piece, that one big piece.

Q. Any reaction on Joe Torre yesterday?

DON MATTINGLY: It was awesome. I didn't realize that was going to be yesterday. And it was cool to turn the TV on and there he was. I thought it was pretty with Joe and Tony and Bobby, it was pretty cool. It felt historical. You're seeing three great I only played against Bobby's teams a couple of times when I was young, he was in Toronto. Playing against Tony's teams, working for Joe, I thought that was really cool, those three guys going in together.

Q. The three wise men?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, no doubt.

Q. What are you expecting out of Dan Haren?

DON MATTINGLY: Quality innings, the way he pitched at the end of the year last year, one of the best pitchers. We felt like he got himself straightened out. Felt like he kind of got out of his delivery a little bit. I know he's a California guy, looking forward to having him.

Q. Has there been any update on the Billingsley and Beckett?

DON MATTINGLY: Bills is solid on continuing on the rehab process with the Tommy John. No setbacks whatsoever, kind of feel like he's going to be one of the guys in Spring Training. I'm sure with some limitations, but this is a guy that's going to be ready early in the season.

And Matt we feel like is going to be ready in Spring Training.

Q. (INAUDIBLE)?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, he's throwing the football, his shoulder feels good. He feels like he's a guy in Spring Training that's ready to pitch. Should be a normal guy in Spring Training.

Q. Normal, normal or Jason Schmidt normal?

DON MATTINGLY: I've never seen Jason pitch yeah, I did, a couple of times.

Q. Are you going to have him throw a baseball or stick with the football? How about your middle relief, you were uncertain at the middle relief?

DON MATTINGLY: I know it's an area that Ned has talked about. And Ned kind of continues to explore. I'll be honest with you, I'm pretty comfortable. I think, again, I'm going to go back to Brian, I thought that piece was huge. Because that kind of changes the end of the game. And also look at our starting pitching now.

So I'm really trying to, for the most part, I feel like I've got guys that are in 6th and moving toward that 7th a lot with the pitching staff. So you start talking about Withrow and I know Brandon had a tough year, but the year before, with relievers you just don't know.

Year to year one guy goes to being bad one year to great the next. I look at Brandon has a chance to bounce back for us, I look at Withrow, I just feel like we're going to be okay. I know Ned is still searching for some other pieces to create more depth. If it started today I'd feel comfortable.

Q. What's your favorite Ronald Belisario memory?

DON MATTINGLY: I've got lots of Ron Belisario memories.

Q. Is there one that sticks out there?

DON MATTINGLY: No, not that I can talk about. He did have that good sinker, though, didn't he?