MLB Rumors: Next Two Weeks Critical For Dodgers’ Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly
Don Mattingly
Joe Camporeale USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ seasons may come down to how the team fares over the next two weeks.

The Dodgers, 23-22 and five games back of NL West-leading San Francisco, are about to start a stretch of six consecutive series against teams with losing records. And if the team cannot bolster its spot in the standings, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports expects management may decide a “shakeup” is needed.

According to the report, manager Don Mattingly is safe. Maybe.

He signed a contract extension through 2016 in the offseason, but Morosi believes the “West Coast Yankees” may pull the trigger on a drastic move if the team continues to fall from contention by early June.

Mattingly led the Dodgers to within two wins of the World Series last year. He doesn’t deserve speculation about his job security. But it’s hard to know what will happen if the West Coast Yankees don’€™t emerge from their malaise by June 3 €”— the one-year anniversary of Puig’s debut.

Instead of adding more talent to the roster, the team may opt to export its most valuable commodities.

Morosi suggests Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier could be trade pieces, though none of the three outfielders are worth what they used to.

Kemp has yet to regain his form since his ankle injury earlier this season. He’s batting .267. Ethier is splitting time in the outfield with Crawford, but Dodgers management have denied wanting to deal any one of his four outfielders.

“It’s a situation we’re going to have to deal with,” Colletti told the Los Angeles Times. “But we’re always going to be one injury away from not having to deal with it. It gives everybody a chance to take a breath, get a day. Everybody likes to play, but I think it’s sometimes beneficial to take a day.”

Infielders Juan Uribe and Dee Gordon could provide a high return but Morosi said management may not want to part with the team’s best two all-around players. The same goes for Adrian Gonzalez, who is second on the team with 30 RBI and remains one of the lone reliable run producers.

That leaves Hanley Ramirez, who is in the middle of a contract year. Ramirez is batting .251 with six home runs and 21 RBI. Over his career, Ramirez has had a .300 batting average with 18 homers and 60 RBI per season.

And while it may not make much sense to deal Ramirez, Morosi can’t completely rule it out.

Of all the players mentioned above, Ramirez is the only one who will become a free agent after this season. It would be nearly inconceivable for the Dodgers to trade Ramirez and insert a younger shortstop with better range … then again, we would have said the same thing about Nomar Garciaparra in Boston 10 years ago.

Will it an outfielder gone? Ramirez? Or Mattingly? The next two weeks may tell.

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Sam Spiegelman
Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.