Earlier today, we heard from USA Today's Bob Nightengale that the Miami Marlins were planning on firing president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill as early as next week. We had a quick reaction on the potential move, but I made certain to note that this move was only "reported" and not final, as these moves are ultimately decided by owner Jeffrey Loria, who may or may not have weighed in on the decision.
Well, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald dug in and tried to find out from the horse's mouth and asked Jeffrey Loria, and Loria all but denied the claim.
Informed of the report, Loria said by phone: "I never comment on any ridiculous and fabricated rumors." He declined to comment further.
Of course, this is the expected response of an owner who either has not made a decision or at least wants to keep an in-house decision under wraps a little longer. And yes, while this could be just a rumor gathered up from some contacts by Nightengale, it would not surprise anyone if the Marlins let go of Beinfest and made him take a major part of the fall for the team's failures in 2012.
To be fair, the organization has been entirely sharing the disappointment of the 2012 season among its big names. When asked about Guillen's job situation, Beinfest was more than willing to put the burden in part on himself as well as the rest of the front office.
Asked this week about Guillen, Beinfest said on his radio show: "It’s easy to say, ‘Well, Ozzie didn’t do this, Larry didn’t do that, Jeffrey didn’t do this, and [team president] David [Samson] did that.
"I think it’s real easy to do a lot of that right now, but it’s all of us. If Hanley Ramirez didn’t perform, you know what? I was part of the negotiating team that gave him the long-term contract. I was part of the decision-making team that kept him here and wanted him to perform.
"... It’s everybody. Ultimately, to lay it all on Ozzie, and say you know what, Ozzie gets the blame just as much as I do. That’s just the way it is right now. But everyone has to kind of wear this one."
Guillen has been willing to shoulder the blame from his players to himself, going so far as to say he "deserved" to be fired after the season the team had. But still, he has expressed his desire to return and said that everyone in the organization should accept blame for the mistakes of 2012.
"It was time to say, 'Listen, you know what? I think we [made] a mistake.' Wear it. You learn, and move on. Was it a great team? Yes. But did they perform the way we thought they were going to perform? No."
All told, the team is not going to go out in public with any information about a potential firing or personnel move until it is ready to disclose that information. Loria may have used very strong words in characterizing the rumor Nightengale brought up, but I doubt that that shines a light of the veracity of the rumor.