Finally Don Mattingly said what everyone with any logic has known all along: the players are the problem for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Well, the players and injuries.
Since the end of his time with the Dodgers seems to be near, Donnie Baseball isn't holding back with his critiques of the team. He told the public what's at the heart of the team's problem, saying:
"We got to find a team with talent that will fight and compete like a club that doesn't have talent. I felt we got more out of our ability [last season]. I don't know about being tougher, but I felt we got more out of our ability.' It's not, 'Let's put an All-Star team together and the All-Star team wins.' It's finding that balance of a team that has a little bit of grit and will fight you. And also having the talent to go with it. All grit and no talent isn't going to make you successful. But all talent and no grit isn't going to get you there either. There's a touch difference between, 'I'm giving you best effort' and being willing to fight you for that prize, to do whatever it takes to win. It's almost something inside you that says, 'You're not beating me today. You're not getting me out.' There's another level you can't measure with sabermetrics. They may say, 'B.S.' to that, but there are certain things you can't measure.''
The problem with the Dodgers is the same problem that happens all across sports. Players get these massive contracts and then don't actually need to play as hard as before. That's the story for nearly the entire Dodgers team.
Now, there's no way to tell if they're really playing with any heart, but if anyone knows, it would be Mattingly who sees them every day.
He even benched Andre Ethier, likely in an attempt to light a fire under his butt to get back out there. But with a five-year, $85 million contract, why would he?
The Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball at $220,395,196 with only four guys getting paid under $1.4 million (Kenley Jansen, Luis Cruz, Paco Rodriguez and Tim Federowicz).
Sometimes a World Series isn't enough to make guys want to play. They need some other motivation, and usually that's the next contract, but the Dodgers have given their main guys such long, lucrative deals that Mattingly is right on.