Don Mattingly said he expects to start the season without a new contract and said the Dodgers' ownership might want to consider replacing him as manager if the team fails to reach the playoffs.

"If we don't win and we're healthy, they really should look at it," Mattingly said Sunday. "This team has a lot of talent. My job, and my coaches' job, is to get them to play the game right.

"If we can't get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice. There's a ton of talent here."

The guaranteed portion of Mattingly's contract expires after this season. The Dodgers have declined his request to exercise his 2014 option.

Mark Walter, the Dodgers' controlling owner, told The Times last month that the team has had discussions with Mattingly about a new contract. Mattingly said Sunday the discussions have been general in nature and said he has made clear he would love to stay with the Dodgers so long as the owners and management retain confidence in him.

"I like who I am working for," he said. "I feel confident in what I am doing."

The Dodgers are expected to field a player payroll of about $230 million, the highest in major league history. By asking the Dodgers to pick up his option, Mattingly said he hoped to erase the potential distraction of players' hearing questions about his job status with every losing streak.

However, Mattingly said he understands his status and is not upset about it. From this point on, he said, he would rather prepare the players for the season than talk publicly about his contract.