In less than 24 hours the Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond and held a press conference the following day to announce his replacement. Their choice? Current general manager Dan Jennings. The surprising choice left a few people scratching their heads, including Jennings’ mother. At the news conference he said, “My mom, who I love deeply, asked me, ‘Are you crazy? Have you lost your mind?'”
Last night, speculation was running rampant regarding the new Marlins hire. John Heyman on CBS sports was reporting the Marlins were calling it an outside-the-box hire. All sorts of names were being thrown out as possibilities. Possible successors ranged from former Marlins Ivan Rodriguez and Jeff Conine to out-of-work former managers Bobby Valentine and Dusty Baker.
Jennings’ appointment comes as a shock to many people in the industry because of his lack of actual managerial experience. While Jennings has 31 years of baseball experience, he has never managed a team in the majors. As a matter of fact, his last managerial experience came when he coached a high school baseball team in the 1980s. While the line between the front office and the dugout has been blurred before, this is certainly not common practice.
Marlins owner Jeff Loria, who had a role in Jennings’ selection, believes the choice to move forward with Jennings makes perfect sense. In a phone interview with USA TODAY Sports Loria said, “People like to say this is controversial, different, outside the box. I can’t think of anyone better suited for this job than him. There was a tremendous lack of energy and fire in that clubhouse and dugout. We needed to bring some life in there. We needed more accountability, more energy, more fire, more communication, and Dan fills all of those roles.”
From an economic standpoint, Loria’s in-house promotion saves the club money since both Redmond and Ozzie Guillen are still on the books. Jennings will be Miami’s sixth manager in as many years. Loria has been historically impatient with his managers. Moving forward it will be interesting to see how he treats the new skipper if the team does not pan out. His GM duties will be delegated to others for the remainder of the season.
Despite having the lowest payroll in all of baseball the Marlins front office believe they should be doing better than their current 4th place standing in the N.L. East indicates. The Marlins do have an incredible amount of young talent revolving around outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, but have been bitten by the injury bug after losing Henderson Alvarez and clubhouse ace Jose Fernandez to season-ending injuries. If healthy, there is no doubt the team will improve. Nonetheless, Jennings better understand there are still expectations to be met. As Loria himself put it, “We’re supposed to be the fish. The Marlins. We shouldn’t be the Flounders.”