Dan Jennings was dismissed by the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night and reportedly has already drawn interest from other teams to serve as an assistant GM. That is all that really needs to be known.
Jennings is known to be respected throughout the game and has had success in Miami. The Marlins were plagued by injuries throughout 2015 but were competitive and took positive strides in 2014. Jennings worked aggressively each winter to improve the roster while not exceeding the club's budget. He helped the Marlins extend Giancarlo Stanton last November. And now he is gone.
When Jennings was asked to take over for Mike Redmond, who was similarly "dismissed" toward the end of May, he might not have had a choice. The Marlins, hoping to gain momentum as the All-Star break approached, did not feel the need to hire a new manager two months into the regular season. Jennings took the job and ultimately lost his old one as a result.
Team President David Samson told reporters, including Steve Wine of The Associated Press, he regretted having Jennings move into the dugout. Perhaps now we know why.
Miami was criticized by both opposing club executives and other major league managers when they made Jennings the next manager. But Jennings worked around it and seemingly earned the respect of the clubhouse. It might have been awkward at first, but he coached the players on the roster he assembled. He enjoyed it so much, he was disappointed when the Marlins told him he would not have the opportunity to manage again in 2016.
In every sense of the phrase, Jennings was a "team player." He took a new and uncomfortable situation and adapted to it. He agreed to manage the Marlins so that the organization did not have to pay another manager with Mike Redmond still receiving checks. Now Jennings will remain on the payroll without having to work too.
Maybe Jennings gained the respect of the players because he did what he felt was right. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman notes Jennings had a "rift" with Loria "while defending players as manager." Good managers defend their players. That is simply all Jennings was doing.
However, Jennings' views clearly differed from Loria's. We have heard for months how the Marlins' front office has been divided with regard to the future of Marcell Ozuna. When he was called up, Jennings put Ozuna in the lineup. Now, it appears Loria was not fond of the idea. There is the division.
Since the beginning of September, Jennings' future with the organization was questioned. After the season ended, Samson and President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said Jennings had the opportunity to return to the front office. But maybe he never did. Maybe the Marlins were hoping he would be frustrated enough to leave himself so they did not have to make a move to fire Jennings, who did what he was asked to do.
The Marlins reportedly went through several managerial interviews without Jennings present. That alone was enough to suggest it was unlikely Jennings would return. After learning about what his new responsibilities would be, maybe Jennings did not have the desire to be the GM any longer. However, that alone would not require the Marlins to fire him.
Regardless of the situation, the Marlins now have to move forward. After hiring Don Mattingly, they need to turn their attention to improving the club. Players and potential free agents are going to have to become familiar with the new front office structure. And if they don't like it, improving the club could prove to be challenging this off-season.