Who actually wrote Dodgers lineups this year? Mattingly, Friedman weigh in
With a new analytically-inclined front office in place this season, there was plenty of speculation as to what Don Mattingly’s role, if any, was in setting the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup.
Now that Mattingly and the Dodgers have parted ways, he and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman shed some light on how lineups were pieced together this past season, the first under Friedman’s new management regime.
"I just look at it as collaboration and us working together," Mattingly said, per the Orange County Register. "That relationship [with the front office] was not strained in any way. I feel like I’ve always been a guy who works with anyone. Information is good. Discussion is good. Debating things back and forth is good. At the end of the day, you put your lineup out there."
Friedman also conveyed that lineup construction was a collaborative process.
"Sometimes [Mattingly] would text me, ‘Hey, thinking this. Any thoughts?’ Because we had a fresher perspective," Friedman said. "Just like in the winter we would talk to him and say, ‘Hey, we’re considering this trade. What do you think?’ because he was part of the management team of this organization."
Although Mattingly came up in baseball in a different era as a player with the New York Yankees from the early ’80s to mid-’90s, he embraces analytics. However, that doesn’t suggest that he’s enamored with solely relying on metrics in making lineup decisions.
"Am I one thousand percent with everything that comes through it? Probably not," Mattingly said. "But I love the information and how do we analyze players. The analytics are nothing but great information for me."
Although Mattingly served as manager of the Dodgers for five years, there was a rampant notion that he had little to no involvement in making the team’s lineups once Friedman and crew came in, a notion that Friedman unequivocally denies.
"It’s not ‘Hey, here’s your lineup. Go put it up,’" Friedman said. "There’s healthy conversations that go back and forth every day. Sometimes he would text us. Just like my relationship with Joe Maddon and I’m assuming [general manager Farhan Zaidi’s] relationship with Bob Melvin. That thought-partner back and forth to debate things. That’s healthy. That’s good."