If the Twins have been bemoaned in the past for not making managerial changes quickly enough, where does that leave the Marlins? Yesterday afternoon Miami fired manager Mike Redmond, who was in his third year with the team. He'd managed the Marlins to a 155-207 record since the start of the 2013 campaign.
Redmond saw his team fade in 2014, finishing with a 77-85 record. Not bad but not good. This year the team was off to a 16-22 start, which is still just six games out of first place. According to run differential, the team would have been expected to be 18-20.
Would those two games have saved Redmond? Maybe, which is disconcerting. It could have bought him another week or two, perhaps. Therein lies a part of the problem: by what barometer of success is a manager judged that he can be dismissed at this point in the year? Only owner Jeffrey Loria really knows, and every time this happens it becomes less and less clear what the criteria could possibly be.
Whether or not Redmond deserved to be fired (he didn't) is a secondary question for me this morning, however. My primary question is whether or not the organization even understands what a good manager is.
Since Fredi Gonzalez was fired after a 34-36 start on June 23, 2010 (following 84 and 87-win seasons in 2008 and 2009 respectively, by the way), Miami is about to see its seventh manager in less than five years. That manager will be Marlins' General Manager Dan Jennings, who has never spent an inning coaching in an MLB dugout in his entire life. The last time he did any coaching seems to be about 30 years ago, at the collegiate level.
If you don't remember Gonzalez being fired, by the way, it came as a surprise. Joe Frisaro, who was (and still is) covering the Marlins, certainly didn't see it coming.
#Marlins Stunning move, Fredi dismissed.— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) June 23, 2010
This is the sixth time the organization has fired a manager mid-season since debuting 22 years ago. It did work, once. In 2003, the Marlins fired Jeff Torborg after a 16-22 start. Jack McKeon took over and at-the-time-Florida ended up beating the Yankees in six in the World Series.
Basically, this has become something of a regular occurrence for Miami. It shakes out like this: the Marlins couldn't identify a good manager if one stood up and kissed them on the mouth, so they've just decided to let the General Manager do whatever the hell he wants. If there are any Timberwolves fans out there who are drawing a couple of parallels here, you're not alone.
The Marlins are currently still paying Jennings’ GM predecessor, Larry Beinfest, and they’ll also pay Redmond through the 2017 season and pay former manager Ozzie Guillen through the end of the current season.
Sometimes "outside the box" solutions should be applauded. Sometimes they remind you why "outside the box" isn't standard operating procedure: it's downright baffling. Right now the Marlins will be issuing paychecks to two general managers and three on-field managers. It just smacks of childlike impatience.
Time will be the ultimate judge here. Who knows, maybe this ends up being a genius move. But from where we sit, with the benefit of hindsight, this looks like business as usual for the Marlins: pulling the plug early on a manager with the hope of stimulating the team's performance. It's happened before, it's happening right now, and unless Jennings falls into a big pot of luck it's really hard to see this working out.