Oct. 2, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria looks on before a game between the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Dugout Dirt: The Miami Marlins Managerial Problem


Today’s column takes a look at what is happening down in south Florida.


Jeff Loria has owned the Marlins since 2002. In that same time frame, the Marlins have employed 7 different people as a manager of the team, including Jack McKeon serving two tours. Interestingly enough, McKeon won Manager of the Year in his first year (2003) when the Marlins won the World Series.

Joe Girardi won Manager of the Year in his only year in the organization: 2006.

I can go on and on about who was manager when but it still would not solve a problem. What in the world is happening down there? Who is really in control? Is it possible that Loria is taking a Steinbrenner approach to the team?

In the time since Ozzie Guillen was fired after his one year as manager, the Marlins have not hired anyone to replace him. I asked those in the Miami sports media to offer their take on things.

“I think we’re starting to see a trend with the Marlins owner,” Will Manso, the sports director at WPLG, said. “Jeffrey Loria is constantly firing managers. They’ve had 5 managers now in the last 6 years. At some point, you need to start pointing the finger at the ownership.

“They’ve shown no patience with any manager. Joe Girardi won the NL Manager of the Year in his only season with the Marlins, yet Loria fired him. He then hand-picked Ozzie Guillen as the man to lead his franchise into the new ballpark, and he also fired him after one season.

“As for the job, it’s still a desirable job for most people. You only have 30 managing jobs in baseball, so each one if very valuable. Plus, Miami is a great city and the team does have a new ballpark. The only problem is, since they owe Guillen over 7 million dollars, they don’t have much of a budget to spend on a new manager. That means you shouldn’t expect a big name to take this job.”

“The problem is the Marlins keep whiffing on personnel decisiions (Heath Bell, John Buck on one side; Gio Gonzalez, Yoenis Cespedes on the other) and team owner Jeffrey Loria seems to make decisions based on what side of the bed he wakes up on,” South Florida Sun Sentinel sports columnist Dave Hyde said. “Mike Redmond is a good, smart baseball person who knows this organization, which would be a good step. Is he ready to become the youngest manager in the majors? That’s something to look for in the interviews.”

“There is no shame at all in wanting to be like George Steinbrenner but in order to be the boss you must commit to winning over the long haul and the Marlins are yet to do that,” ESPN 760 commentator Evan Cohen said. “Once they stop back loading contracts and start signing their own guys like Miguel Cabrera long term, then they will be considered contenders over the long term.

“A new manager understands what his role is with the Marlins. You must carry out the philosophies of the management and keep your opinions to yourself.”

Could it be possible that the owner let’s the general manager manage what happens on the field? Maybe.

“To put it bluntly, but there seems to be a mounting pile of evidence that would lead me to believe that the organization does not have the proper people in place to make baseball decisions,” Aaron Somers, the interim editor at Fansided’s Marlin Maniac, said. “Time and time again this team makes moves that others across the baseball world question out loud. Time and time again those moves continue to fail to work out as the organization appears to be perpetually treading water in Southern Florida.

“Sure, the managerial choices over the past few years have not worked out as planned. Girardi is just one example of a manager who went on to have success elsewhere. He had a heck of a lineup to control in New York, don’t get me wrong, but he was ultimately able to get the most out of those players when he needed to and that is why they won. That never happened with the Marlins. Ozzie Guillen was a mistake from the start. But it’s the individuals making the decisions to put these guys in that position, or to prematurely take them out of said position, that are most to blame for the organization’s failures.”

Will the next Marlins manager last more than a year? I honestly cannot answer that question. Only Jeffrey Loria knows the answer to that and I’d like to live in a world where the Marlins manager lasts more than a season.

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