It isn’t a secret that Jeffrey Loria and the Miami Marlins‘ front office have a rather short fuse. Whether that be poor handling of fans or trading newly-signed stars, Miami’s ownership make decisions as wise as a frat brother at Mardi Gras. Like old times, Loria and the Marlins were at it again as they fired skipper Mike Redmond Sunday after a 16-22 start to the season.
Look, at fourth place in the NL East, Redmond has been rumored to be on the hot seat since the first week of the season. Even this offseason chatter circulated that anything short of a playoff run would result in the firing of the Miami manager. However, being fired on May 17th seems a little premature – even for the trigger-happy Marlins. Don’t forget, this comes less than a year after Loria signed off on an extension for Redmond through the 2017 season.
“We haven’t played to our capabilities,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said on Sunday. “We’re hopeful that a new voice will spark and motivate our guys. I think we’re just looking for some consistency.”
Consistency is hardly something Loria is successful in accomplishing.
Now here we are – the Marlins struggling and their young manager kicked to the curb. If the franchise wants to rely on “high expectations” as an excuse, surely that means they will bring someone in to take the team to the next level, right? Just as the Chicago Cubs fired Rick Renteria after one season because they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring in Joe Maddon. Maybe that meant Loria and company were able to go out and grab someone like Joe Torre or Lou Pinella or even maybe take a chance on Charlie Manuel. Perhaps maybe they’d go an inspired route for Tony Perez, Jeff Conine or Andre Dawson?
Nope, the Marlins are hiring Dan Jennings as their new manager.
If that names sounds vaguely familiar to you, that would be because he currently serves as the general manager of the Miami Marlins – a position he has held since 2013. Jennings also has never coached in the major leagues. Christina De Nicola of FOX Sports Florida breaks down how “qualified” Jennings is for the gig:
Jennings has no major league playing or coaching experience. In fact, he has not coached since the 1980s with Davidson High School in Mobile, Alabama. It followed his stint as an undrafted right-hander signed from a tryout camp by the New York Yankees in 1984. He would attend spring training with Class-A Greensboro. Jennings’ collegiate playing days were spent at the University of Southern Mississippi.
His front office career began in 1986 as an associate scout with the Cincinnati Reds. He became an area scout with the Seattle Mariners two years later before being promoted to Midwest crosschecker in 1995. He was named the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ scouting director later that year, a position he held until joining the Marlins in 2002.
Loria is a disgrace – not only to the people of Miami but to Major League Baseball as well. Say what you will about owners such as Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban, but their sole focus is to bring championships to their city. Loria’s, in comparison, is to bring revenue into his pockets. Despite what he may say, he doesn’t give two craps about winning.
I take that back, he does care about winning enough to put butts in the seats of his often-vacant stadium.
In a sport that features very few visible owners (unlike the NFL), MLB quietly keeps the competitive nature strong across the board. Yet Miami is constantly the biggest question mark. Fans know there are two Loria consistencies than can be sure to see – a young roster full of cheap players and discounted jerseys in pro shops of players recently traded.
The latest news of Redmond’s firing really makes me feel for Giancarlo Stanton. Yeah yeah, I know you can only feel so bad for a guy making $300 million, but he is locked into Loria’s grip for the foreseeable future. I hated Stanton signing long-term in Miami for that exact reason – his professional future was being held captive by Loria.
A player like Stanton deserves championships and fanfare – two things he won’t receive under the notoriously tight grip of Loria. It’s a shame that one of the greatest talents this game has is going to be locked away rotting in his Miami prison.
New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has a lot on his plate, and shaking up the establishment likely isn’t at the top of his list. But it is time to think long and hard about what Loria is doing in Miami.
The Marlins, as usual, rank near the bottom in attendance number so far this year – 28th out of 30 averaging just over 20,000 per game. Not only is that of concern, but they have become the laughing stock of the league thanks to Loria. Even when the team is full of young, talented players, Loria finds way to cast a shadow onto the organization. If such actions continue, the league runs the risk of alienating all MLB fans in and around Miami.
Redmond might not have been doing a great job, and in any other organization his firing may have seen as justified. But in Miami, the move is seen as just another impulsive decision by an insane owner. And Loria’s hiring of Jennings just adds more fuel to the fire that Loria truly has no idea what he is doing.
Loria truly is an embarrassment to the league.
Photo: USA TODAY Sports
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