The Miami Marlins were supposed to contend this season following a major overhaul of the roster. Instead, the team is wallowing at the basement of the NL East and has its sights set on the future rather than the present in September.
For a lot of fans and perhaps ownership, the front office and its moves in the offseason are to blame, and if you believe the rumors, even the top heads in player personnel are not safe. It sounds as though president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest is well aware of the possibility of his own job being in jeopardy after the latest down year for the Miami Marlins. He said so in an interview with 790 The Ticket.
"When you sign up for this job and you don't win, you know you can be in the crosshairs and you can lose your job," Beinfest said. "That's just the way it is.
"The blame and disappointment and all those things fall squarely on my shoulders, and I fully understand that."
If you know the Marlins as well as I do, you know that owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson have a quick trigger finger in terms of firings. You also would not be surprised if the Marlins were interested in blaming one party for the failures of 2012, and I would not be surprised if that party were the front office.
Of course, it is difficult to determine whether the front office is entirely to blame. In fact, in the case of 2012, it is likely that it is not the front office's fault, but rather the players' fault for underachieving and failing to meet expectations.
Still, this season is the perfect storm for a Beinfest firing:1) The Marlins were terrible when they were supposed to be good and signed $191 million in guaranteed salary over the next six years.
2) The team is looking for a party to blame for their failures
3) The time for at least an evaluation of Beinfest and company's activities at the front office has been in the making.
4) The team has a supposed forward-thinking replacement with scouting experience ready at the helm.
5) The club is in dire need of determining its direction going forward, meaning the team is once again pondering entering a new "era" in the franchise.
Those five reasons have Beinfest's seat at its hottest since he and his extended player personnel group took power with the organization in 2002 following Loria's purchase of the team. If there were a perfect time to bring up an evaluation of the organization's player personnel department, it would be following a disastrous season with huge implications, both in terms of baseball and in building a new community and fan base for the team. This is especially true since the Marlins have yet to really evaluate Beinfest and company's performance, and especially with a trusted individual in Dan Jennings close to the top.
Should the Marlins then look to shake up the front office and potentially fire Larry Beinfest and allow a new regime to enter? Well, as we discussed earlier in the season, it cannot hurt to get new names and new voices into the player personnel picture. And even if a firing would be "unjustified" in a true sense, there is no better time to justify a move than now. However, the Fish should not make a change simply to make a change. Moving from Beinfest to, let's say, current GM Michael Hill at the top of the player personnel structure would probably be a sideways move at best. The Marlins should not make Beinfest the scapegoat and fire him without changing the culture of the organization's front office. If Beinfest is to go, someone with some knowledge of the statistical branch of sabermetrics should be hired.