In the eyes of some front office executives and Marlins players, Tommy Hutton was too negative. While the Marlins did not give a reason for not renewing Hutton's contract, a source told Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald Hutton was dismissed because the team felt he was indeed notably critical.
According to a source in close contact with the Marlins, the team believed Hutton was too negative – a criticism that isn’t valid if examining his full body of work.
Hutton was critical when necessary and had a penchant for unleashing the occasional playful rant, but there’s a distinction between critical and excessively negative.
More often than not, it did not appear Hutton was unreasonably critical. When a player did not make a routine play, Hutton called that player out. If a player could not get a sacrifice bunt down in a key situation, Hutton said something about it. But Hutton rarely second guessed the manager and almost never spoke out against decisions the Marlins' front office made with regard to personnel.
It did not appear Hutton criticized position players more often than pitchers or vice versa. If Hutton felt the need to respond to an in-game situation, he did so.
“I know there were times I was negative, but I thought those times were called for,” he said. “Ninety percent of what I said was positive. I tried not to be a homer, but you could tell I wanted the Marlins to do well.”
Both Hutton and Rich Waltz expressed their thoughts on the Marlins' performance, but as Hutton points out, neither can truly be categorized as "homers." Opposing players were discussed, however how can a broadcast be balanced if the opposing roster is not mentioned? And with regard to the comments about the dimensions of Marlins Park, Hutton is almost certainly not the only analyst to mention the spaciousness.
Hutton told Jackson there were only three instances where Marlins management expressed displeasure with regard to negative commentary. Three instances might not be enough to justify moving in a different direction.
The Marlins are expected to begin their search in the coming days, but they might not have to look very far. Jeff Conine, Preston Wilson and Carl Pavano could all be internal options.
After Hutton spent 19 seasons with the Marlins, he is now looking for a new job. He did not appear to be too negative, but in the eyes of some he might have been just that.