Tino Martinez resigned as the Miami Marlins' hitting coach on July 28th of last season. Handpicked and directly hired by owner Jeffrey Loria, Martinez was given the challenge of trying to develop several of Miami's young bats. In midst of allegations that he physically and verbally abused players, one of which was Derek Dietrich, Martinez remained quiet-until now.
Like Loria, Martinez apparently enjoys the negative publicity. Why he decided now was the best time to comment is questionable, but months after his resignation in an interview with WFAN in New York, Martinez called Marlins hitters "soft."
"I was just trying to get them to understand, take advantage of this and make yourself a better player. They were very soft. They were very soft and that was the disappointing part, but I thought I was doing my job as a coach to try and get the most out of them."
Martinez is a former player himself, and when he worked as a hitting coordinator in the Yankees' system, none of their prospects were ever spoken of in such a way. An immediate, and perhaps even psychological analysis, would suggest some type of envy. But Martinez spent 15 years in the major leagues, and believed that he was doing what was best for the organization a year ago.
The Marlins' front office, and even Manager Mike Redmond, have admitted that last season the team lacked a veteran presence and the leaders necessary to create a winning atmosphere. By signing Casey McGehee, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jeff Baker, and Garrett Jones, the team added valuable leadership to a notably youthful squad.
In addition to expressing his belief that the team's significantly young lineup was "soft," Martinez was bothered by the fact that those young hitters did not take advantage of the opportunity,.
I was tough on some of the young players I thought needed to be, not disciplined, but they were walking around like they were 10-year veterans and I was trying to teach them the right way to do things. I was trying to teach these guys. These guys had a great opportunity. They didn’t belong in the big leagues.
Miami is known for rushing top prospects to the big leagues, however last season's early promotions had just as much to do with injuries at the major league level as they did performance. Marcell Ozuna was productive before getting injured, and Christian Yelich, Donovan Solano, and Dietrich all had to gain experience and make adjustments.
Martinez was not only unpopular among players, either. A Sun-Sentinel report quotes an anonymous member of last year's staff stating "he wasn't the most popular guy here. I'm disappointed he can't let go."
Last season was deemed a "rebuilding" year before it even started, and Martinez knew that. He was hired to teach rookies how to become productive major league hitters. It was not his place to comment on the given opportunities. He was getting paid to teach inexperienced major league players, and his inability to do that likely factored in his behavior.