The Miami Marlins have a long track record of knee-jerk reactions: might another be around the corner with a firing of manager Don Mattingly?
History says yes.
Two years ago, the Marlins found themselves having a very similar May to the one they are having right now. The injuries weren’t nearly as bad- something that should unquestionably be taken into account- but the hopes for a productive season were similar. However, the team was scuffling, seemingly inventing new ways to lose night after night. Something had to be done.
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Jeffrey Loria decided the time was right to fire manager Mike Redmond.
We all know how well that worked out. Redmond was replaced with most logical choice for the job: a man who had never managed a baseball game at the professional level. Team GM Dan Jennings was given the reins, and paired with a June injury to Giancarlo Stanton, the bottom dropped out.
A Penchant For Pulling The Trigger
Of course, firing one manager does not make a track record:
Both Jeff Torborg, and current third base coach Fredi Gonzalez were similarly treated to early exits when the Marlins underperformed under their watch. Ozzie Guillen was given the whole 2012 season to disappoint before being terminated, which at least made some sense compared to the 2006 decision to fire Joe Girardi one year into his deal. All he did was win NL Manager of the Year.
But it’s the Torborg firing that matters here. It’s the reason I correctly predicted, to the exact day, the Redmond firing back in 2015. And it’s the reason that somewhere in the darkest corners of Loria’s mind, Mattingly’s seat on the Marlins bench might be starting to warm up. Because when the Marlins gave Torborg his walking papers…they hired Jack Mckeon.
All he did was win the World Series.
Loria has fired four managers since taking over the team in 2002. Five if you want to count Jennings, who was technically dismissed from the front office. The “problem”, and I use the term loosely because the aberration was one of the happiest moments of my life, is that one time it worked out. Really, really well. Spectacularly, intoxicatingly so. So much so that franchise stability at manager has become a secondary consideration ever since. It doesn’t matter that the other three times failed to achieve a pennant, or even a winning season.
The Miami Marlins today
So the big question as we make our way through another disappointing May is: has the lesson finally sunk in or not? If it has, I’m wasting your time. But if it hasn’t…Donnie Baseball is done-zo, and will be fired within the next two weeks.
Let me clarify: I think this would be a bad idea. But I also think that, aside from Ozzie, firing Don Mattingly might just be the most logical dismissal in team history.
What follows is a breakdown of the cases, why and why not, we could see this take place- soon. You decide for yourself which makes the most sense.