Jeffrey Loria Continues to Hold Miami Marlins Back

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On Sunday, Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria went Full Jeffrey Loria. And you never go Full Jeffrey Loria.

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The firing of manager Mike Redmond after a 16-22 start to a season that had unusually high aspirations for a team coming off a 77-win season is another sign that Loria lets outside perception influence in-house decisions. Sure, President of Baseball Operation Mike Hill will use things like “Playing up to our capabilities” and “Needing a new voice in the locker room” as buzz statements to support the move, which sounds like things that certainly makes sense with this ball club. But a team that has been going without its best two pitchers for (Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez), one of its best everyday players (Christian Yelich), and having to release its big signing last offseason (Jarrod Saltalamacchia) probably wasn’t going to start the season on a blitz.

Of course that sort of common sense is something you would think the Marlins brain trust would have kept in mind, considering they just gave Redmond a two-year extension right before this season even started. Then again, “Marlins” and “common sense” aren’t things you tend to see together very often, but here we are.

(Some might say “Marlins” and “Brain trust” don’t go together that much, but we’ll try to take the high road.)

This move had been something that was brewing for about a month, when the Marlins started the season 3-11 and in the final games of their first big road trip of the season. Loria was mostly silent during that trip, except for arriving in Philadelphia and simply quoted “We’ve got to win games.” Clearly the words of a master motivator, the Marlins would win their next five games. After the Marlins jump-started their season, Loria gave his seal of approval to CBS.

The Marlins went 8-10 from that point on, with the fatal blow being a near no-hit bid in Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Braves, concluding the Braves second three-game sweep in Miami of the season. That was the straw that broke the art dealer’s back.

Whether you believe Redmond should or shouldn’t have been fired is debatable – it depends on if you thought the Marlins would or wouldn’t be a playoff team this season – but the message of the move speaks volumes. This is just another manager hired on the cheap that was supposed to raise a bunch of kids that was let go before he could see them grow into adults.

While Joe Girardi was ceremoniously let go because he spoke out against Loria, and Fredi Gonzalez followed consecutive seasons winning over 84 games with a 34-36 start to lose his job, Redmond entered this season with essentially one hand tied behind his back with his ace on the shelf for half the season and somehow expected to make the playoffs, or, according to some publications, win the World Series. With that kind of pressure, or trying to change history, Loria felt compelled to make this move.

Is Redmond a good manager? Eh, he is what he is. He’s a former Marlin-turned Single A manager-turned Major League skipper because he was willing to take the leap and lead in the big show. But to suddenly expect him to help a young team take the jump to the playoffs in a short amount of time is asking a lot.

The comedy in the Marlins managerial change is that Redmond, along with former manager Ozzie Guillen, will continue to collect paychecks from the team. Add to that the team will have to pay a third person to take the position; well, that is unless they find someone to do it for free, which we can’t rule out. Then again, the thought of Loria trotting team President David Samson out in a Marlins bat-boy uniform to run the team might make up for this whole ordeal.

But the Marlins, perennially operating on a shoe-string budget, even with their brand new ballpark that they struggle to fill, will pay three separate people in trying to fill one spot as manager, not to mention $14 million for Saltalamacchia to go away. Yet Loria will still hold out his hand expecting to collect some of that juicy revenue sharing money. The Marlins are last in payroll, even though they no longer have the excuses of their time at Sun Life Stadium. And before you retort with the Giancarlo Stanton deal, remember the big money doesn’t get paid until after 2017.

While the top in-house candidate will more than likely be Brett Butler, don’t expect Loria to leave any stones unturned in his search. Whether it be fan-favorite Jeff Conine, to PR nightmare Wally Backman, the decision that will be made on Monday will be made with money in mind. That has always been the most important thing for this ownership group; winning would just be an accidental occurrence. 

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One has to wonder what happens if the interim manager doesn’t turn it around, would Loria stop at a managerial firing? Would Loria think it’s time to strip the team down again? Even with a team that doesn’t have many big money deals, any chance to save a few pennies and start over is always a possibility. Dee Gordon is arbitration eligible, but would paying money for what could be a two-time All-Star on an under-achieving team be something Loria will want to do? And what about Fernandez, who will be coming up soon on arbitration this winter? Teams know that no matter what the Marlins will publicly say, they’ll always listen to anyone.

Unfortunately for Marlin fans, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison isn’t riding down the Dolphin Expressway to save the day. The Marlins will remain in the possession of a man that can go Full Jeffrey Loria at any time.

Next: Marlins Fire Redmond

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