The Miami Marlins just recently re-signed veteran bench bat Greg Dobbs to a one-year deal worth $1.7 million. The Fish presumably wanted to fill their "gritty veteran bench bat" role that was classically handled by Wes Helms and was previously taken by the likes of Lenny Harris, Ross Gload, and Aaron Boone among others. On the surface, it is a poor use of the $1.7 million, as Dobbs has been a terrible hitter for three years and has only stood out to the Marlins because of his propensity to make contact with runners on third base. Essentially, the Marlins signed him to make professional, productive outs.
It would not surprise you that the man behind the signing, however, was not Larry Beinfest or Michael Hill, but rather owner Jeffrey Loria, who personally negotiated the deal in June, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel.
If you don't like the deal, don't blame President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest or General Manager Mike Hill as neither had anything to do with it. Owner Jeffrey Loria, the source said, negotiated the pact unbeknownst to his top baseball officials.
This latest example offers further proof of the Marlins' front office dysfunction. Beinfest and Hill are under contract through 2015, but Loria pulling the end-around to sign a role player doesn't bode well for their long- or short-term futures in the organization.
As Rodriguez states, this is just an example of another meddlesome situation from the mind of Loria and a show of dissension from within the front office. The franchise may have felt the need to have a player like Dobbs on their roster, but the fact that the move had nothing to do with Beinfest or Hill and indeed occurred without them even knowing shows how little impact they have on personnel moves.
We had heard that Loria was vetoing moves such as minor league promotions, but this is the first official signing that the Fish have made that we heard did not involve the head of the front office. This has to be infuriating for Beinfest, who should be allowed to perform some function of his job and make decisions on the roster. Loria has essentially taken all the front office power by circumnavigating the head of the front office here.
If this were just one example of an isolated move, it may be understandable. A few years ago, New York Yankees ownership famously forced Brian Cashman to make a deal for closer Rafael Soriano despite the fact that the Yankees did not need a $12 million setup man. Cashman was irate and made it clear he had no interest in the move, but performed it anyway. The difference is that, while the Steinbrenners are classic meddlers, they also trust the talented Cashman enough to keep out of most moves. It seems we have heard enough to realize that Loria is not doing that, and it is undoubtedly bad for the franchise.