Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Ozzie Guillen wasn't exactly a rousing success in his only year as manager of the Miami Marlins. With Guillen out, who's the right fit for the struggling franchise?
Since 2010, the Miami Marlins have had five* managers. If that's not a sign of instability, I don't know what is. After yesterday's announcement that Ozzie Guillen would be let go, the team is now in search of its sixth manager in the last three years.
* Note: The team's had four real managers: Fredi Gonzalez, Edwin Rodriguez, Jack McKeon and Ozzie. Brandon Hyde was a transitional guy who managed and lost exactly one game.
Although Miami is a wonderful place for players looking to catch a tax break and maybe some rays on South Beach, it's not exactly a hot destination for prospective managers. In addition to the team's propensity to fire managers, the Marlins finished last season with a 69-93 record. With a depleted major league squad and some tough competition in the NL East, the Marlins could make a run, but they certainly aren't guaranteed success anytime soon.
So while names both new (Tim Wallach, Sandy Alomar Jr.) and old (Mike Lowell, Mike Redmond) are sure to be bandied about as prospective skippers, I'd think that anyone serious about keeping a managing job for the long haul might be a little worried about working with Jeffrey Loria and co. Loria's not exactly the picture of ownership stability. Larry Beinfest's front office did a pretty nice job of making moves during the 2012 season with trades and midseason acquisitions but didn't do a great job in the offseason prior to 2012. There are even some rumors that Beinfest is on the hot seat, and if the front office goes, the new GM regime may look to install their own guy, no matter who is at the helm.
So unless the team brings in someone who runs the show like Buck Showalter has in Baltimore, I'd guess that the new Marlins manager has a window of about three years, at the absolute best, in order to get this team going. So for that reason, the Marlins should be looking for a manager with the temperament to survive a hostile work environment. The 2013 season looks to be a rebuilding year for Miami, and 2014 doesn't look entirely like a bed of roses either.
To put things in perspective, a few Miami players have rallied around Ozzie since his firing, as you can see from the following tweets by Marlins players Justin Ruggiano
and Ricky Nolasco, just kidding, Ricky deleted his tweet:
Very glad I had the opportunity to play for @ozzieguillen, he was the ultimate players manager and I wish him the best.— Justin Ruggiano (@justinruggiano) October 24, 2012
The truth of the matter is that players will almost always defend the manager, and managers will almost always keep their jobs (and keep morale high), so long as the team is winning. If the Marlins or Red Sox won 100 games this season, do you think Guillen or Bobby Valentine would have been fired, despite their controversies? Heck no. They'd get parades.
Until Miami starts winning, the new manager's job will be in a constant state of jeopardy. The best fit for the position is someone who (1) can remain focused under scrutiny, (2) work with the front office in a complementary way and (3) doesn't make major gaffes. It would also be nice, in my opinion, if that manager could bring either a track record of success (rather than mediocrity or failure) and manages the game by The Book. Those last two aren't exactly necessities, but they sure would be great. The track record of success, or nothing (like the one Mike Lowell might bring) will give the manager a bit more goodwill to start, and being a good tactical manager might earn the team a small but valuable competitive advantage during games.
In the end, Ozzie was a very expensive scapegoat, as Michael Jong said over at Fish Stripes. He wasn't the only reason the Marlins underachieved, but he was probably a small factor that contributed. The main factors were that the team had players who drastically underperformed and did not have enough good players to beat teams like the Nationals and Braves.
Unfortunately for the Marlins, Guillen, like Heath Bell, was also a very expensive factor in their demise. Now, the team will pay him $7.5 million to not manage the club and gave away two players as well to get him in the first place. While hindsight is 20/20, Ozzie was acquired and paid for like a star player, and that was the problem from the beginning. Baseball managers usually just aren't important enough to the team's overall success to be worth that, and now the team finds itself in almost the same position it was before the 2012 season.
Let's hope the new manager, whomever it is, has a little better luck with this team.
Who would you like to see as the next manager of the Miami Marlins?
Tim Wallach (1 vote)
Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1 vote)
Mike Lowell (1 vote)
Mike Redmond (3 votes)
The team should have kept Ozzie! (1 vote)
Ugh, I really don't care at this point. (0 votes)
Other (leave comment below) (0 votes)
7 total votes