I know we’re all sad to see the Marlins’ exciting season come to a close, especially on an extra-innings affair versus the Philadelphia Phillies which we lost despite the Phils resting the majority of their starters. But that’s OK everyone; soon the offseason will begin and the Marlins will once again be involved in the drama, which for us fans could actually be a bad thing. Here are season-ending Bites (though the Bites season isn’t over yet).
– The biggest Marlins news of the offseason popped up rather quickly. It seems owner Jeffrey Loria is considering firing manager Fredi Gonzalez. Friend of the Maniac Juan C. Rodriguez is confused and a little ticked. Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald is even more angered than that.
If it’s true that Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez is on the verge of being replaced, and team president David Samson did nothing to dispel the rumors that have suddenly circulated, then Jeffrey Loria has officially become a meddler…
…Loria would be worse. He would be the delusional owner who wants to win so badly that he makes a mockery of his organization — but doesn’t spend any money in the process.
It is quite damning that Loria has been angered at two different managers who have been a part of teams that have overachieved (as Gutierrez points out in the article, the team is a .500 team by run differential, yet won 87 games) with underwhelming parts. Gutierrez lists a bunch of personnel problems that Fredi had no control over (though he conveniently skips over the Emilio Bonifacio fiasco over which Fredi had complete control and easily cost the team two wins anyway) and claims Fredi’s done a better job with so little. While I’m no fan of Fredi’s work, as you’ve clearly seen over the course of the season, I wouldn’t blame Fredi for the team missing the playoffs either.
The club was lucky to be close to the playoff hunt. The Marlins racked up 33.2 WAR according to FanGraphs, and that should equate to about 82 wins in a 162 game season. The team’s run differential agrees with this assessment. The Marlins went 30-20 in one-run games, which in part explains why they’ve overachieved their Pythagorean and component WAR. While there’s no doubt Fredi didn’t optimize where he could by using better pen pitchers or not playing Bonifacio, the team certainly didn’t underachieve, which is typically why a manager gets fired. If he’s fired, I hope the next guy can figure out who the best position players and relievers are, because Fredi didn’t do so. But I’m sure that the next guy wouldn’t do more than a win or two better than Fredi.
– Speaking of which, who could that next guy be? ESPN’s Buster Olney reports it could be Bobby Valentine, the former New York Mets and Texas Rangers skipper. I always liked Bobby V’s insight on the game, and while I would prefer a more forward-minded manager, he certainly wouldn’t be bad and could even be a win better than Fredi in lineup writing and pen managing. And come on, he’s a funny guy. If he gets ejected, we might see him again like this. But seriously, if some more sabermetric mind became available, I’d be inclined to lean towards that guy. Hey, maybe I can turn in an application! Think I’d be a decent skipper for the Fish?
– Rob Neyer points out Chris Coghlan’s big second half before tearing into the Marlins for playing Bonifacio and putting Coghs in left field, where he was really bad. As I commented over there, I agree with the general sentiment, but given the replacements the Marlins had this season in the outfield, it was highly doubtful they could have done a whole lot better. Cameron Maybin did not look as good in Triple-A as Rob points out (MLE batting line of .269/.332/.377 according to Minor League Splits) and once the club acquired Nick Johnson, there was no room in the infield for Coghlan. Still, with the likelihood of Dan Uggla being jettisoned from the team this offseason and Johnson likely not to return, spots in the infield should open up for Coghlan to come back, and it should help his value a bit.
– If you hadn’t heard, Marlins minor leaguer Osvaldo Martinez was shot several times in Puerto Rico last Wednesday as part of a drive-by. He was in critical condition. Hopefully everything turns out all right for the young man. We’re all hoping for the best.
– Finally, I’m going to pimp some of my own stuff. First off, check out my two-part series on the Washington Nationals last week over at Beyond the Box Score (Parts 1 and 2), along with the Value Over Contract charts by the Graph of the Day guys Walter Fullbright and Justin Bopp. Also, check out my new stuff over at Fan Huddle, the “Intro to Sabermetrics 101” course I’ll be directing. If you’re just into the world of sabermetrics, I’m looking to provide a primer guide to all the workings, including a glossary and explanations on a wide variety of topics. Hope to see you my Marlin Maniac readers over there; please drop by and provide some feedback when you can!