Miami Marlins: The best general manager in team history
How have the three men who have served as executive vice president or president of baseball operations helped the Miami Marlins franchise?
Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill has just as much to do with the development of the current team as anyone in the front office. When we look back at the success (and potential failure) of the plan Derek Jeter has put in place, Hill will be viewed as a savior or someone who once again could not make the Marlins a winning franchise.
Judging by what the team’s minor league system has done in the past two seasons and how management has been careful when adding and subtracting players, it’s a good bet Hill will continue to be praised for his efforts with a developing baseball team.
When fans look at the Miami Marlins from the beginning and see how this is a franchise with two World Series titles but has suffered failure after failure with plenty of talent on the roster, which general managers stand out as the best of all time? It’s once again a question Joe Frisaro of MLB.com debated. There are three men, in particular, who stand out over time.
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"“In their history, the Marlins have had just three executives oversee baseball operations with the title of either executive vice president or president of baseball operations,” Frisaro writes."
So, based on different eras in the organization, how would you rank Dave Dombrowski, Larry Beinfest and Hill on their performance in such an important role with the Miami Marlins organization?
Frisaro tackles the question with straight facts.
"“Under Dombrowski (1992-01) the Marlins acquired Gary Sheffield from the Padres for Trevor Hoffman in 1993. Free-agent signings like Alex Fernández, Al Leiter, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou, and Kevin Brown helped elevate the ‘97 team to the title,” he writes. “And in ’98, after being mandated to break up the team by former owner H. Wayne Huizenga, Dombrowski’s trades netted Derrek Lee, Mike Lowell, A.J. Burnett and Brad Penny.”"
One could only wonder what could have been if this roster had been held together. Would there have been more winning seasons? Would there have been more magic in that lineup and another World Series title or two?
It’s a reoccurring theme with these Marlins in their 27 years as an MLB franchise.
Beinfest (2002-13 put his own personal touch on a World Series Title by bringing in Jack McKeon to manage the team in ’03. Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Pierre were signed on his watch. Not a bad period in Miami Marlins history.
"“In 2003, Beinfest made a creative three-team trade that moved Charles Johnson and Preston Wilson from Miami to Colorado. Juan Pierre came back to South Florida in exchange. The free-agent signing of Rodríguez and the hiring of McKeon as manager in May ’03 put the pieces in place to win the franchise’s second World Series crown,” Frisaro adds.“The Marlins have had six winning seasons in club history, and five were during the Beinfest regime. The franchise also underwent two roster overhauls. It started in 2005, when the core of the ’03 team was broken up.”"
After the first two acts, what will Hill’s legacy become? In addition to the moves the team has made since Jeter took over as CEO of the franchise, he has been the bridge between the Jeffrey Loria era and the transition of building a younger organization from the ground up.
In the past two seasons, the minor league system has developed into a top 5 feeder group. The team has made trades, bringing in Caleb Smith, Sandy Alcantara, and Monte Harrison. The Miami Marlins have used the MLB Draft to add both JJ Bleday and Max Meyer. He has helped to engineer trades that have added both Jazz Chisholm and Lewin Diaz.
"“After the Marlins changed ownership after the 2017 season, again Hill was asked to deal away core players,” Frisaro wrote. “Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Gordon, Yelich and J.T. Realmuto were all dealt over the next year, giving the organization payroll flexibility. Since then, the organization has improved its farm system from one of the worst in the Majors to one of the best.”"
Personally, I don’t think you can state which individual is better. All three have helped this team rise in their tenures. For Hill, it will be more about what happens this season and beyond that defines just how well he has done his job in South Florida.