The Los Angeles Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly mutually agreed to part ways Thursday, with the team saying both sides agreed it was the right time to make a change.
Mattingly had one year remaining on his contract. The Dodgers won 55 percent of their regular-season games in his five seasons (446-363).
Mattingly met with president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, general manager Farhan Zaidi and senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes for several days after the Dodgers' season ended last week with an National League Division Series loss to the New York Mets.
The sides discussed a possible contract extension, but the Dodgers never officially offered Mattingly one, according to Friedman.
"There's always going to be a desire to label this: Was he let go? Did he resign?" Zaidi said during a news conference Thursday. "Understanding that, and frankly, I've had my own level of cynicism when you hear of people mutually parting ways. But we can sit up here with all sincerity and say that's how it came about.
"It was a conversation, it was an organic dialogue that just led to this point, Donnie feeling like maybe he needed a change, us feeling like taking the organization forward, if that was his state of mind, maybe it was a good time for us to make a change."
Sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that several teams -- including the Miami Marlins -- would be interested in Mattingly. There also are managerial openings in San Diego, Seattle and Washington.
After the week of discussions with the Dodgers, sources indicated to Shelburne that Mattingly simply felt he'd be more comfortable working for a front office and ownership group that had hired him, instead of constantly trying to adapt to someone else's vision. Mattingly had worked under two ownership groups and two general managers.
Two years ago Mattingly had a very public tiff with the Dodgers after then-GM Ned Colletti declined to announce at a season-ending news conference that an option year on Mattingly's contract had vested -- thereby casting him as a lame-duck manager following the team's National League Championship Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I'm honored and proud to have had the opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers," Mattingly said in a statement. "I've enjoyed my experiences and relationships with the organization's staff and players throughout my eight years in L.A. After meeting with Andrew, Farhan and Josh, we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me. We talked about several scenarios, including my returning in 2016. However, I believe this is the right time and right move for both parties. I'm still very passionate about managing and hope to get the opportunity in the near future. In the meantime, I want to thank the Dodger organization, the city and our fans for the opportunity and wish the club well going forward."
Mattingly was expected to speak with the media on a conference call later Thursday.
The 54-year-old was hired by the Dodgers to replace Joe Torre in 2011. He led the Dodgers to three straight NL West titles, a first in franchise history. But pressure has mounted on the entire organization as the Dodgers failed to advance out of the first round the past two seasons despite having the highest payroll in baseball -- a record $289.6 million as of the end of this regular season.
After last year's meltdown against the Cardinals, Dodgers ownership revamped the front office by building a veritable think tank of the top analytic minds in baseball. Friedman was hired away from the Tampa Bay Rays to be the Dodgers' new president of baseball operations. Zaidi left the Oakland Athletics to become the Dodgers' new general manager.
The new front office quickly proceeded to overhaul the roster, trading away fan favorites Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon to create a more versatile, younger and deeper 40-man roster in a dizzying series of moves at last year's winter meetings. It continued to make moves during the season to bolster the bullpen and back end of the rotation after Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but both remained areas of uncertainty throughout the year.
While Mattingly enjoyed a strong professional relationship with the new front office, sources indicate there was never a strong philosophical synergy between them.
Friedman said he is in the process of compiling a list of managerial candidates and hopes to have the search wrapped up by the winter meetings in early December.
The Dodgers have a few potential in-house candidates to replace Mattingly, starting with Gabe Kapler, the team's farm director who has a long-standing relationship with Friedman. Coaches Tim Wallach and Ron Roenicke also are possibilities, as are Chicago Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez, who worked with Friedman in Tampa Bay; and former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black, who has close ties with Byrnes.
Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch is a favorite of Byrnes as well, but Hinch remains under contract, so that could prove a difficult acquisition.
Friedman said he informed the coaching staff that it is free to pursue other job leads as the next staff won't be reassembled until after a new manager is hired. All of the Dodgers' coaches are under expiring contracts.
Mattingly was very popular with the team's players.
Said ace Kershaw in an interview with Time Warner Cable's SportsNet Los Angeles, "I'm in Donnie's corner, too. I love Donnie, known him for long time, played for him and Joe [Torre], the only two managers I've played for. Obviously I have a ton of respect for him. It would be good to have him back as well."
Added first baseman Adrian Gonzalez last week: "He's our guy and I believe in him."
Information from ESPN Staff Writers Mark Saxon and Ramona Shelburne and The Associated Press was used in this report.