Aug 17, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria looks in the Marlins dugout prior to a game against the San Francisco Giants at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is again in the news for all of the wrong reasons. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has reported that the front office in the Marlins organization has opened up a massive divide. In the orange corner of the ring you have owner Loria and VP of player personnel Dan Jennings. In the teal corner you have president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and GM Mike Hill.
Ken Rosenthal had this to say regarding the start of the fued.
"The relationship between Beinfest and Loria began to deteriorate in 2009 when Loria flirted with Bobby Valentine while Fredi Gonzalez managed the Marlins to 87 wins — a season that remains their best since they won the World Series in ’03."
Since then Loria has become the meddlesome boss that all of us hate.
"That episode marked the start of Loria’s increased involvement, sources say — and the start of numerous skirmishes between Loria and Beinfest over the years. Most recently, the two sparred over Loria’s rejection of a plan to promote infielder Chris Valaika from Triple-A on Aug. 19, a move first reported by the Miami Herald."
This is not the first time that the Marlins have pushed out a top executive. Current Detroit Tigers president is Dave Dombrowski. Dombrowski helped assemble the first Marlins championship team in 1997 and is widely regarded as one of the top executives in the league, actually winning the award in 2011. Dombrowksi left the Marlins and joined the Tigers in 2002, the year Loria bought the team.
I think Beinfest is one of the better executives in baseball. He seems to do the best he can on a significantly low budget with someone looking over his shoulder. If he is forced out of Miami, then I have little doubt that he will find another front office position rather quickly. I am also a big believer of GM Mike Hill. I think Hill is even better than Beinfest. It would be a real shame to lose him but there is no way that either of these guys are staying long-term if Loria keeps jerking them around.
Loria is like the athlete who surrounds himself with “yes men”. Jennings seems to be the guy right now that is willing to tell Loria whatever he wants to hear. That means that Jennings will be staying around until he gets too opinionated. Once that happens he will find a new home as well.
Not since Frank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has an owner been the object of such well deserved vitriol. The truth remains that Loria is like the wealthy person that believes just because they are rich, they are smarter than everyone else. Loria made his money as an art dealer. He has virtually no experience in baseball other than owning a team, yet he insists on making personnel choices that should be made by actual front office executives that he has hired expressly for that job.
We can only hope that he gets bored and sells the team soon, although he has indicated that wish will not be happening anytime soon. Until then we will be stuck in this crazy circus wondering what will happen next.