The Miami Marlins did not want Joe Espada to return for a fifth season at the helm at third base, but they did want him to get a little managerial experience in advance of a potential job. Instead, Espada decided to move to the front office.
The Marlins offered Espada a job as the team's High-A Jupiter manager, but Espada eventually declined the position and will now join the New York Yankees as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman.
"It took me a couple of days to make the decision and that was the main reason because I enjoy being on the field, but there's stuff I need to learn," Espada said. "There's more than just coaching players. It's how to put guys in the right spot, knowing how to put a team together, pieces you need to make a team a better club. Taking a year or two off the field and learning the evaluation part of things...that's something I felt like I should do now at a young age.
The Marlins wanted him to coach High-A Jupiter because Espada is aiming for an eventual managerial job, and the Fish figured that that would be a good starting experience for the 38-year-old coach. Espada has spent four years with the Marlins as a third base coach, telling people when to stop and go under four different managers in that time.
Before that, Espada had been a minor league baseball player, having been drafted in the second round in the 1996 draft. At some point, he joined the Marlins' organization but never reached the majors while playing for eight different organizations. Espada joined the Fish as a hitting coach for the team's Low- and High-A affiliates in 2006, and he slowly went up the ranks before being promoted to a third base coach role in 2010.
The Marlins will now find other candidates to manage their High-A affiliate. The team already replaced Espada at the third base coach position with former Major Leaguer Brett Butler, who will also be an outfield coach.