Marlins hire Rodriguez, let’s move on
By Michael Jong
The Marlins made their hire for manager, replacing interim manager Edwin Rodriguez with…
…new manager Edwin Rodriguez. It actually shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the Fish were leaning towards Rodriguez for some time now, primarily as a time-saver. The team apparently is very busy not only with personnel decisions heading into the last season in Dolphins/Dolphin/Pro Player/Sun Life Stadium, but also with the managing of construction for the new ball park. With the park still under works, the day-to-day business of it seems to be preoccupying the Fish. Hiring Edwin, who expressed interest in retaining the job, was just an easy move for the Marlins.
As odd as it sounds, I like the idea of getting this hiring done early in the offseason just to “get it out of the way,” so to speak. We know that the managerial position isn’t going to be something that will have a drastic effect on this team’s performance, and Edwin wasn’t awful last year anyway. Taking a quick glance at the lineups he ran out there this season, not too many stand out as egregiously wrong. It was pretty easy to determine which hitters on the team were the five best, and those five best hitters were the ones that primarily resided in the top five spots. Rodriguez did make the slightly beneficial move of moving Dan Uggla into the cleanup spot rather than the fifth spot, as that best utilizes his power. The only major problem was that, late in the season, he threw Emilio Bonifacio out at the leadoff spot instead of staying with Hanley Ramirez or even going with a more unconventional choice like the OBP-heavy Logan Morrison. Then again, this is such a common mistake among managers that it is hard to fault him terribly.
I was not happy with the way he handled the bullpen switch between Clay Hensley and the struggling Leo Nunez late in the year, as it showed a little bit of small sample size dependence. Still, he could have seen something in watching Nunez pitch daily that I did not see. There was mention of increased changeup use, but that couldn’t be the only issue. I felt Nunez was pitching just fine and Rodriguez and the Marlins were overreacting to a bit of underperformance, but I suppose we’re probably both right to some degree.
As far as handling the clubhouse, I have no clue how well Rodriguez has done it. I haven’t heard anything bad from the players, but I doubt that they would come out and discuss such a thing during the offseason anyway. I could not scrounge up any negative comments from players about Rodriguez and indeed found only praise for the man. Given that, he isn’t likely to be messing up in that regard.
All in all, I think Rodriguez is a fine, average manager. His presence won’t put the team over, but his moves won’t cost the team a tremendous amount of runs. And in an offseason that is supposed to be pretty important, with two potential extensions looming, maybe it was the best interests of the club to just get this signing out of the way, have Rodriguez on board early and have him aware of all the personnel moves during this important offseason. If anything, it leaves the front office staff just one less thing to worry about.