Blue Jays Nearing Agreement To Hire Don Mattingly As Bench Coach

The Blue Jays are closing in on a deal to bring in Don Mattingly as their bench coach, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman and Jon Heyman first reported earlier this evening that Mattingly and the Jays were in discussions about a coaching position, which Shi Davidi of Sportsnet specified was for the bench coach vacancy.

Assuming the deal is completed, Mattingly will step right back onto an MLB staff. He’s spent the past 12 years managing, leading the Dodgers from 2011-15 and the Marlins from 2016-22. Towards the end of this past season, Miami and Mattingly announced they’d part ways at the end of the year. The 61-year-old suggested he was open to continued coaching, managerial or front office work at the time, and he’ll indeed jump into another key role.

The Marlins only once qualified for the postseason during Mattingly’s seven-year tenure as manager. Miami was rebuilding for the early portion of that stretch, and it looked as if they’d taken a step forward with a 31-29 showing during the shortened 2020 season to secure a Wild Card berth. Their efforts to build around a developing rotation didn’t lead to continued progress, though, and Miami and Mattingly went their separate ways after 2021-22 seasons with 93 and 95 losses, respectively. The Fish subsequently hired Skip Schumaker away from the Cardinals as manager.

Mattingly will bring a wealth of high-level experience to the bench coach position. That’s surely welcome for 42-year-old John Schneider, who was named Toronto’s manager just prior to the start of the offseason. He’d served in that role in an interim capacity for the final couple months, taking over when the Jays dismissed Charlie Montoyo in July. This’ll be his first full season as a big league manager, though, so it’s sensible to bring in a veteran voice like Mattingly to assist in those decisions.

Schneider entered the 2022 season as Toronto’s bench coach under Montoyo. When he vacated the position to take the lead role, the Jays promoted Triple-A manager Casey Candaele to interim bench coach for the second half. It’s not clear whether Candaele will remain on the MLB staff or is set to head back to the minor leagues in 2023.

The forthcoming bench coach hiring is just one part of what could be a very eventful week for Mattingly. He’s one of eight former players under Hall of Fame consideration by the Era Committee. The six-time All-Star will find out on Sunday whether he’ll be enshrined in Cooperstown in 2023.

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