The Nashville Stars, a hopeful expansion franchise led by a group including former big league pitcher and D-backs GM Dave Stewart, announced Tuesday that Blue Jays bench coach Don Mattingly has been named an advisor to the organization’s ownership group (officially titled Music City Baseball, LLC). The Stars/Music City Baseball also count Tony La Russa and Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin among their baseball advisors. Stewart, La Russa and Dave Dombrowski joined the Nashville group back in July 2020, and the Stars’ web site still lists Dombrowski as an advisor even after his hiring as Phillies president of baseball ops in Dec. 2020.
Mattingly will still serve as the Blue Jays’ bench coach this coming season. The Stars’ press release indicates that he will “provide counsel on key strategic matters and work to gain support in bringing a Major League Baseball franchise to Nashville.”
“Simply put, Don Mattingly knows baseball,” Stewart said in a statement within today’s press release. “He was a pure hitter, played near-flawless defense, and has been successful as a manager and coach because of his baseball mind. He is well-respected around the game of baseball, and we are lucky to have him with us.”
Mattingly, indeed, has an immensely impressive baseball resume spanning 14 seasons as a player and another dozen as a manager. The 1985 American League MVP, Mattingly was named to six All-Star teams and also won nine Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards. He retired after his age-34 season with a career .307/.358/.471 batting line, 222 home runs, 442 doubles and vastly more walks (558) than strikeouts (444).
Since retiring, Mattingly has served as both the hitting coach and bench coach for the Yankees, as well as the hitting coach for the Dodgers. Following the 2010 season, the Dodgers tabbed Mattingly as the successor to manager Joe Torre. He managed in L.A. from 2011-15 and in Miami from 2016-22. Mattingly remained at the Marlins’ helm through a sale of the franchise and a front office overhaul, but he and the team agreed to part ways late in the 2022 season. The 2023 campaign will be his first as the Blue Jays’ bench coach, and he’ll provide some valuable experience to John Schneider in his first full season as a Major League manager.
In addition to Mattingly, La Russa, Corbin and Dombrowski, some of the current and former advisors to the Stars/Music City Baseball include Bruce Bochy, R.A. Dickey, Mike Shildt, Barry Zito, Jarrod Parker and Todd Jones, per the Stars’ web site. There’s no clear timetable for when the league might earnestly seek to expand beyond its current slate of 30 teams. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated at multiple times in the past that he indeed hopes to bring about further expansion of the league, though he’s also indicated that the long-running stadium issues for both the A’s and Rays must be addressed.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale first reported that Mattingly had been named an advisor to the Stars’ ownership group.