It is now official. Dan Jennings will not return as manager of the Miami Marlins in 2016.
We already knew that much. Since the Marlins dismissed Mike Redmond and Jennings was asked to take over, it was pretty clear Jennings, even though he lacked the "interim tag," he would only be in the dugout through the end of the season.
Miami is seeking a veteran manager, and even though Jennings now does have major league managerial experience under his belt, the Marlins have other names in mind. Via FOX Sports' Christian De Nicola, David Samson told reporters Jennings is signed to be the general manager but has not yet determined whether he wants to return.
When asked if he took the offer, Samson said DJ was always the GM. DJ hasn't responded yet. "He is signed to be a general manager." #Marlins— Christina De Nicola (@CDeNicola13) October 6, 2015
As expected, the circumstances have put Jennings in an awkward situation. He expressed some interest in returning to the dugout but the Marlins likely never considered that an option. The move back to the front office might not be that smooth. Multiple reports have suggested Jennings has lost a notable amount of power within the Marlins' front office, that Owner Jeffrey Loria is tempted to blame him for the club's lack of success.
Since Jennings left to manage the team, multiple other front office executives have become close with Loria and influenced roster-related decisions. Assistant General Manager Mike Berger, who many thought would be an option to replace Jennings, is among them.
As they announced on Tuesday, the Marlins did make several changes within their front office. The moves were not extreme but could become just that if Jennings decides to opt out. Jennings has an opportunity to become the GM again. The Marlins noted he never was not the GM, however it is unlikely Jennings made every personnel and executive decision and managed the club. There had to be others involved.
The news here is Jennings has an opportunity to return if he wants to. He can continue to serve as the GM, moving forward with a new understanding of what pieces need to be put together to thrive in a major league clubhouse. Perhaps having Jennings move back to the front office will have a positive effect on the managerial search, too. Since he served as one, Jennings might have a tendency to know exactly what characteristics to look for.
Jennings might also have fewer options now, since Jerry Dipoto was named the GM in Seattle. But there is still no guarantee he stays.
The entire situation has become awkward for Jennings. Does he get blamed for the team's inconsistencies as manager or general manager? Does he return and still serve as the top baseball executive? Will anybody listen to what he has to say since so much has happened since he left?
Stability is key, so having Jennings return to the front office might be the best case scenario for the Marlins. He has the respect of players, including Giancarlo Stanton, who he was able to successfully extend last winter.
Miami has a lot of work to do this offseason. Jennings is in a bad spot, but having him return might prove to be the best case scenario.