But he understands why there is hesitation in embracing — to put it lightly — the Marlins’ offseason moves.
“I know the fans of South Florida have been through this,” Mattingly said. “But this is going to be different.”
That’s the hope, anyway. Under CEO Derek Jeter, the Marlins have begun a rebuild — or fire sale, depending on your outlook — of their core. In the past week, Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna (in a deal expected to be finalized Thursday) have been shipped out for salary relief and minor league prospects.
To wide swaths of the fan base, it looks like the same old Marlins, who operated with little consistency through the Jeffrey Loria era. A trade of the franchise player during the Winter Meetings? The Stanton deal with the New York Yankees had shades of the Miguel Cabrera trade, a decade ago this month.
Mattingly made his pitch Wednesday morning at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, host of baseball’s big offseason convention.
Marlins agree to trade Marcell Ozuna to Cardinals for prospects
This time, he promises, it’s not the same old Marlins. They’re are going to do it right.
“I’m excited about what we’re embarking on,” Mattingly said. “I understand the disappointment of the fans in Miami, and I see the negativity that’s been going on around us. It’s one of those things you look at and don’t quite understand, but maybe it’s from what’s happened in the past, and that’s where you just encourage fans to know this is a different time. It’s a different group. Give us a shot.”
The Marlins won’t replace Stanton, Mattingly said. Not immediately. But this is about more than one player, about more than just 2018.
Much of Mattingly’s sentiment echoed that expressed by president of baseball operations Michael Hill and Jeter in recent months.
“You’re never, as a manager, sitting there and even going to act like you’re going to be better or we can fill [Stanton’s] spot right now — a guy that hits 59 homers, drives in 130-something runs,” Mattingly said.
Prominent Marlins personnel let go by Derek Jeter ownership
New Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has cleaned house, letting go several popular players, front-office personnel and broadcasters.
“But on the back side of that, you recognize it still didn’t work, and it wasn’t working. We haven’t been able to put a winning season together in a while. So there needed to be a change.
“This is a new group. You hope [fans will] have some patience with the new group because I think the difference is going to be there’s going to be a sustainable model that’s going to be consistent with decisions based on continued development, continued growth, putting together an organization that has a chance to compete year in, year out.”
Mattingly also said the criticism Jeter, a Yankees legend on the field and a neophyte executive off of it, has been unfair.
“Well, I know what goes on from the inside, so I know it’s unfair,” Mattingly said. “Derek may be the first to admit, ‘Hey, I would do some things maybe a little differently.’ I don’t know that. But I kind of look back to Derek’s first year in pro ball. He makes  errors at shortstop, and we know what happened after that.
“He’s got a lot on his plate, a lot going on, a lot happening very fast, but I fully expect any adjustments that he has to make or that he thinks he has to make, we’re just going to move forward.”