Blue Jays hire Don Mattingly for bench coach position

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly (8) watches during the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Miami. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays are nearing an agreement with Don Mattingly, the longtime New York Yankees star and former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins, to be their next bench coach, according to two industry sources.

Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman of the New York Post first reported discussions were underway, which if completed would give manager John Schneider an experienced hand along with a six-time all-star and former AL MVP pedigree to draw upon while running the club.

The Blue Jays confirmed the hire in a statement Wednesday morning.

“It was great getting to know Don throughout this process and we are very excited about the experience he brings with him, from the variety of roles he has had over the years,” Schneider said in a press release. “The organization and I are looking forward to his impact on the players and staff, as we look ahead to an exciting 2023 season.”

The highly respected and well-liked Casey Candaele — who was promoted from triple-A Buffalo to fill in as Schneider’s bench coach after the July firing of manager Charlie Montoyo — will resume his duties as triple-A manager, the team says.

Mattingly, 61, and the Marlins parted ways following this season after seven years together, which included a post-season berth during the pandemic-shortened campaign of 2020. He managed the Dodgers for five years beforehand, establishing himself as a steadying presence beloved by most players for his mellow and easy-going nature.

His background as a deeply admired and professional hitter over a 14-year career spent entirely with the Yankees, when he batted .307/.358/.471 in 1,785 games certainly played into that, and he’ll be an important been-there, done-that resource for a still largely young lineup.

Discussing his future with Sherman and Heyman on their “The Show” podcast, Mattingly said, “I do feel like I need to be in the game. I still feel good physically, mentally, all those things, but you want to be valued in the sense that I want to use my talents. I feel like I see things, I can help players, I want players to get better, I want the game to be great and I want to be part of a winning situation.”

Adding someone with such a skillset to the coaching staff seemed to be a Blue Jays’ priority this winter, as they also interviewed Alex Cintron for the bench coach job before he returned to the Houston Astros as hitting coach, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.

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