With the firing of President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest taking center stage on Friday afternoon, a couple of news pieces went under the radar. The Miami Marlins announced that catcher Jeff Mathis and outfielder Jake Marisnick were out for the season with injury woes. Both injuries certainly put a damper on the Marlins playoff chances.
Miami Marlins rookie outfielder Marcell Ozuna has been out since late July due to a fracture and torn ligaments in his left thumb and he cannot wait to get back into the lineup, according to his manager Mike Redmond.
The Miami Marlins are historically lousy, make no mistake about that, with the National League’s worst record and the certain stain of triple-digit losses. How much better would they have been, however, if Jeffrey Loria hadn’t blown up the roster last year to save money? It’s a tough answer to get at without scaling a creaky stack of assumptions, but my conclusion is that Miami wouldn’t have anywhere close to contention in the NL East even if the Marlins had kept all the expensive talent that Loria decided to trade away.
The Marlins, beginning their last series of a miserable season Friday night, fired president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, hours before the game against Detroit in Marlins Park. The team also dismissed Jim Fleming, who was special assistant to Beinfest. None of it comes as much of a surprise, because Beinfest has been rumored to be at risk of being fired for at least a couple of seasons. Near the end of his 12th season with the franchise, it finally happened after recent reports that owner Jeffrey Loria was exercising more power on the baseball side of the operation.
The Tigers already locked up their division and the Marlins clinched last place and triple-digit losses. The final regular-season series between Detroit (93-66) and Miami (59-100) does not have much riding on it and feels awkward considering the Tigers have not played in South Florida in 11 years. But for all it isn’t, the last three regular-season games at Marlins Park do have the makings of a nice homecoming for several Tigers — especially 21-year-old rookie Nick Castellanos.
Plenty of ex-Marlins players have received warm receptions upon their returns with opposing teams. Perhaps none was as boisterous as the one Miguel Cabrera got Friday night. Playing against the Marlins for the first time ever since the 2007 trade that sent him to the Tigers, fans let Cabrera know he remains beloved in South Florida. They gave him ovations before each of his three at-bats and one more in the sixth, when manager Jim Leyland lifted him for a pinch-runner.
For the second time this season, Mike Redmond will manage against one of his former managers. Redmond, who played for Ron Gardenhire in Minnesota, also was on Jim Leyland’s 1998 Marlins club. Leyland and his Detroit Tigers, fresh off clinching their third American League Central Division championship, conclude the season at Marlins Park this weekend. "He showed a lot of faith in me and played me when I know people said, ‘Hey, you don’t have to play this guy, you can just sit him on the bench,’" Redmond said. "He found a role for me, played me against lefties, got me comfortable in the big leagues. He could have throw me out there against the nasty righties and I could have maybe played a month and got sent out and never come back again. He believed in me."
Cuban athletes have been given clearence to profit from their talents according to the official Cuban media on Friday. The government's decision came at a time where a number of athletes, more specifially baseball players, are defecting in high numbers to fulfill their financial dreams. Just this week, a promising young Cuban pitcher for the national squad, Raicel Iglesias, 23, failed to show up for training and was widely believed to have left the island, which would make him the latest prospect to seek a lucrative contract in the United States.
Greg Dobbs before Friday's game said his desire to be part of an organizational renaissance drove his desire to pursue a contract extension. Rather than test free agency, Dobbs earlier this summer agreed on a one-year, $1.7 million deal. Negotiations actually began at the Winter Meetings last December, when the Marlins informed Dobbs they did not plan to trade him. Dobbs' agent at the time informed the club his client was interest in an extension. The interest was mutual. Dobbs refuted reports that his former agent negotiated directly with owner Jeffrey Loria, leaving ex-president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill out of the loop.
In Adeiny Hechavarria, the Marlins believe they have a rising talent at shortstop. To baseball's statistical world, the 24-year-old has plenty of work to do. For instance, according to FanGraphs.com, Hechavarria ranks last out of 140 qualified players in the WAR (Wins Above Replacement) category. Hechavarria's WAR is -1.8, says the web site, which takes a number of statistical factors into consideration. The Miami shortstop is batting .229 with three homers and 42 RBIs. When informed about the ranking, Marlins manager Mike Redmond defended his athletic shortstop, who has been a standout defensively.
The Marlins may have 100 losses, but they haven't lost their desire to give all-out effort. Placido Polanco sent another reminder in Friday night's 3-2 win over the Tigers. In the eighth inning, the veteran third baseman dove over the short railing along the third-base side. He leapt onto the concrete in order to make a sensational catch on Don Kelly's pop foul.
It appears Donovan Solano has avoided a serious head injury. Solano was plunked in the helmet by a pitch in the 10th inning of Miami's 2-1 comeback win over the Tigers on Saturday night at Marlins Park. With a runner on second, Evan Reed's full-count, 95-mph fastball plunked Solano on the helmet behind his left ear. He was treated by team trainer Sean Cunningham.
Around The League
Major League Baseball announced Saturday the potential tiebreaker schedule should the American League Wild Card race end in a draw.
Moments after they started Saturday night's game against the Orioles, the Red Sox clinched the best record in the American League, meaning they will have home-field advantage for every postseason series they play. Home-field advantage officially went to Boston once the Athletics lost to the Mariners in Seattle on Saturday.Red Sox secure home-field advantage throughout playoffs | MLB.com: News
Moments after they started Saturday night's game against the Orioles, the Red Sox clinched the best record in the American League, meaning they will have home-field advantage for every postseason series they play. Home-field advantage officially went to Boston once the Athletics lost to the Mariners in Seattle on Saturday.
Jed Lowrie had never been able to stay healthy in his years in Boston and Houston, and joined the A's mainly to provide depth. Instead, he's been their starting shortstop and a main cog of a division-winning Oakland team.
With two days remaining, the AL Wild Card race for two spots has three teams within a game of each other, both leagues await a top seed and the NL Wild Card Game still doesn't have a home.
At Fish Stripes
On this day in team history, the Marlins found success against Braves starter Greg Maddux for the first time all season, topping Atlanta 7-1 in 2001. Florida's win helped keep things tight in the race for the NL East crown.
Miami Marlins closer Steve Cishek saved his 33rd game of the year and 28th in a row in the last game. He has been on a second-half tear, but how does his overall season rank next to the best in relief seasons in Marlins history?
The Miami Marlins re-signed Greg Dobbs to a one-year deal, and the contract was specifically negotiated by owner Jeffrey Loria, with no input from president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest or general manager Michael Hill.
Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey and outfielder Marcell Ozuna both hope to be with the squad in 2014. Slowey is eligible to become a free agent, while Ozuna spent the second half of the season on the disabled list.
The Miami Marlins and Jeffrey Loria finally pull the plug on the sinking ship that is Larry Beinfest's tenure in Miami, as Clark Spencer reports that the Fish have fired Beinfest as president of baseball operations.
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria fired president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. The decision may have been correct for the franchise, but the reasons they were done do not bode well for the team's future.