Don Mattingly could not have found a much more tumultuous seven-season stretch than the time he spent as Miami Marlins manager.
It began with the tragic death of ace and community icon Jose Fernandez. It continued with the fire sale of franchise player Giancarlo Stanton along with future MVP Christian Yelich. And it survived an ownership change, the hiring and departure of CEO Derek Jeter and a vicious COVID-19 outbreak in the early days of the pandemic that could not keep the Marlins from their only playoff berth since 2003.
Mattingly's steady hand and big-picture mentality kept the team afloat through it all and enabled him to manage more games than anyone in club history, but he won't make it long enough to see the latest club rebuild through. Mattingly and the Marlins came to a mutual agreement that his contract will not be renewed after this season, the club announced Sunday.
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Mattingly, the 61-year-old former New York Yankees batting champion, came closest to a winning full season in his first year, when the Marlins went 79-82 in 2016. But the franchise's fortunes took a turn when Fernandez, then a 24-year-old two-time All-Star, was killed when the boat he was piloting crashed in the waters off Miami.
One year later, a group led by Bruce Sherman purchased the club from Jeffrey Loria, installed Jeter and traded Stanton. The rebuild was on, but not before the Marlins produced a 31-29 record during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, even after an startling COVID-19 outbreak forced the club to play 53 games over 52 days.
They grabbed an expanded playoff spot, swept the Cubs in the opening round but lost to the Atlanta Braves in the division series. Yet as a series of hitting prospects stalled as they reached the big leagues, the Marlins could not find full-season success.
This year's club was 63-89 and ranked 27th in the majors in both runs scored and OPS when Mattingly told his players Sunday morning that he would step down at the end of the regular season.
"He has represented the Marlins, our players, our fans, and the South Florida community with unmatched dignity and pride," Sherman said in a statement released by the club. "Over the course of our recent conversations with Don, we both agreed not to pursue a new contract for the 2023 season and that the time is right for a new voice to lead our clubhouse.
"He will depart with the most wins and most games managed in franchise history and we are proud of Don’s many accomplishments, including winning the National League Manager of the Year in 2020 when he guided the Marlins to the postseason after a 16-year absence."
The Marlins join the Blue Jays, Phillies, Angels, Rangers and possibly the White Sox in seeking a permanent manager for 2024.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Marlins announce Don Mattingly will not return as manager in 2023