The Miami Marlins fired president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest on Friday, and at that time, it was well known that the team would promote assistant general manager Dan Jennings to a premier, or perhaps even top, position in the revamped front office. It was also expected at the time that a number of parties who often sided with Beinfest in the ongoing struggle between him and owner Jeffrey Loria would also be let go,
One of those names was expected to be general manager Michael Hill, who took over at the secondary position when Beinfest was given the president of baseball operations position in 2007. Hill was considered in Beinfest's camp, but the team made an unexpected move in promoting Hill to president of baseball operations while keeping Jennings in the second-in-command role of general manager.
Michael Hill has been with the Marlins for 11 years, having been a part of the initial squad to take over the franchise's various front office roles when Loria bought the team in 2002. Hill has served in multiple roles regarding the team's player development aspect, as he rose through the ranks with scouting expertise, much like Beinfest. Hill and Jennings both worked with the Tampa Bay organization before coming to Miami around 2002.
In the past, it was thought Miami's power structure started and ended with Beinfest with Loria's strong input, but the owner has become increasingly meddlesome in the decision-making process. Nevertheles, Hill and Jennings insist that the organization will work as a team to make decisions.
"We will work together," Hill said. "I'm the senior-most person in baseball operations, but we don't do anything here by ourselves. We will work together to make sure we do everything to win as many games as we possibly can."
"This is a question we've been asked a lot," Hill said. "[Loria is] a part of the process. It's part of my job and Dan's job and the people we work with to formulate the plan. That will be how we move forward. As any owner, he has the right to ask questions, and we try to educate him on whatever it is we want to do. I don't think that's any different from how things operate anywhere else.
This, of course, is talk from the inside of the organization, and an organization which has not been as transparent about their process as fans would like. The comments sound more like a statement to defuse any lingering tensions from the fan base that the franchise will continue to be run under the iron hand of Loria and Loria alone.
But the promotion is a good sign in that it appears Loria is at least interested in working with Jennings as a team, and he should have a prominent say into what the Marlins do this offseason and going forward. If Loria can work with Hill and Jennings, it may lead to better decision-making at the top, provided heavy-handed moves like the Heath Bell signing are kept to an absolute minimum.
There does not seem to be any further changes planned to the front office, which should keep former Loria stepson David Samson should also feel safe in his position of team president. For now, it seems as though the Marlins are done with shifting around the front office; the only thing left to do is manage the tattered roster.