The Miami Marlins turned to Mike Redmond after the disastrous 2012 season under Ozzie Guillen, with the thought that a rookie manager with organizational connections and a player-centric temperament as a former backup catcher for many years would be a welcome change to a young clubhouse. By the 2014 season ended, the front office clearly thought this was a good move for them, as they offered him a three-year extension. The thought was to have Redmond develop and grow along with a young team that was expected to do much better in 2015.
About eight months after that signing, the Marlins figured that Redmond was the wrong man for the job and fired him in one of the most puzzling moves in the 2015 season. Furthermore, the club went way out in left field in its decision to replace Redmond, turning to a person who had scouting and front office experience but no managerial experience beyond the high school level.
The managerial situation in Miami was a disaster, but it was no surprise once the season began playing out. The Marlins often make scapegoats of their managers, which is why the team is in search of its fifth permanent manager since 2010. This year, it was Redmond who was made the scapegoat for the team's disappointing 16-22 start to the year. Rather than blame the early-season struggles of the players, many of which were not expected before the season, the team felt Redmond had lost his voice over the clubhouse. Never mind that it was only 38 games into the year, which seems like too short a time period for a respected manager to lose a grip on the clubhouse. Never mind that eight months before, the front office thought he was a "perfect leader" for the young Marlins. Those first 38 games proved to the Fish that he was suddenly the wrong man for the job.
Redmond was by no means a perfect manager. He had a habit of making odd decisions, and like many other Marlins managers, he enjoyed his veteran pinch hitters making starts over deserving talent. At the same time, he showed glimpses of intelligent thought on bullpen use and under his guidance, the Marlins finally began using defensive shifts as an organization. He was not the least bit ideal, but he was passable as a game-time decision-maker. More importantly, it seemed like he had the respect of the players, Giancarlo Stanton comments about the team notwithstanding.
The Marlins fired Redmond and immediately looked internally for replacement candidates. For a short time, we thought it would be Mr. Marlin himself, Jeff Conine, who would take over the Fish on the bench, but it turned out the team wanted someone even more outside the box. General manager Dan Jennings was asked to step out of the front office and onto the bench for the remainder of the season. This was done mostly for convenience; Jennings was always meant to be a temporary fix and someone who would play ball with Loria and the rest of the front office while not requiring to be paid more for shifting roles. With most of the coaching staff out of contract by this season's end, it was unlikely Miami could find a good candidate from their current bench, and outside names would have taken too long to find.
A funny thing happened along the way, however. Resentment grew towards Jennings despite him having famously been on Loria's side in the front office schisms reported in 2012 and 2013. As the losses mounted, more and more rumors came out about the possibility that Jennings may not his old job back when he returned to the front office. Assistant GM Mike Berger, who took over Jennings's role in his absence, had supposedly gained enough influence that he became Loria's favorite. Jennings was suddenly potentially out of a job or facing a reduced role after being sacrificed to the manager spot for a team that ended up being worse than expected.
True, Jennings played a role in creating this roster, though likely under the influence of Loria's machinations. He deserves a share of the blame for the 2015 season and how poorly it went. However, like Redmond before him, his managerial contributions were not a significant factor in the team's performance. Jennings too may not have been a great manager, though his on-field decisions at least seemed on par with the average manager holding a big league job. However, it is hard to hold the interest of the clubhouse when everyone knows you are a lame duck heading back to a front office job at the end of the year. How did the extra losing somehow affect Jennings's standing with Loria?
The bungled mess of the managerial situation in Miami has led to the team once again performing a search for a new voice. If there is one consistent thing about the Marlins, it is the team's lack of consistency at the manager spot. The next name will likely face the same problems and meet the same end as Redmond, Guillen, Fredi Gonzalez, and others.