Miami was active throughout the offseason and consistently said it wanted to win. It filled holes on its roster, adding veteran pitchers and position players. It added Lenny Harris to an already experienced group of coaches. The Marlins were confident they would win in 2015. And the manager may not have too much to do with that.
Although it is the manager's job to determine where to have Giancarlo Stanton bat and when to pull a starter, say Mat Latos, for example, the squad has to produce consistently. To this point in 2015, the Marlins have been unable to do so. The starters have been inconsistent, the bullpen has struggled, and the offense has had quite a few off nights. But that is not to say things are not going to change. In baseball, things can change really quickly.
Mike Redmond is essentially the scapegoat. Someone needed to be blamed for the Marlins' slow start and Redmond was the easiest option. His job was in jeopardy after a 3-11 start. That was not a secret.
Whether blaming Redmond is justifiable or not, moving Dan Jennings from the front office to the dugout is not aligned with the Marlins' goals. Throughout the course of the offseason, the organization preached stability. The front office went out of its way to explain how much pride it took in retaining key players and how fortunate it was to have the opportunity to add veteran pieces to a young core. If something is not working, you do not wait until the end of the season to attempt to fix it. However having Jennings serve as the club's manager may not prove to be more beneficial than having Redmond end the season as skipper.
Jennings is well-respected throughout the game and that is significant. Front office executives rave about his ability to put a team together and that same respect should be carried onto the field and into the clubhouse. Perhaps the Marlins did need a new face to get them motivated. Perhaps the team will turn things around with Jennings at the helm. Perhaps Miami just needed change.
Although he is respected, Jennings is an odd choice. He only has high school managerial experience. He might only have been hired to prevent spending on another manager, since the Marlins are still paying Ozzie Guillen and now Mike Redmond. Former President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest is still on the payroll, too. Jennings is not a prototypical manager. And maybe that will work to the Marlins' advantage.
This is Dan Jennings' team and if nothing else gives Marlins fans confidence, maybe that should. He had a vision and acted upon it. He extended Giancarlo Stanton, signed Michael Morse, and traded for Dan Haren, Martin Prado, Mat Latos, and Dee Gordon. He has seen what his club looks like at its best. And he has seen it at its worst. Jennings will now have a unique opportunity, one that almost every General Manager will not have in their career. He will be able to coach the players he acquired and use them in the situations he felt they should be used. The Marlins' clubhouse might benefit from such an outlook.
While Jennings has minimal experience and will be coaching his own players, it may be hard to appreciate the managerial change because of the organization's history. Jennings is the sixth Marlins manager in six years. The Marlins have not had a problem firing managers in the past but results have not improved notably. Redmond was not given a lot of time. If the Marlins are better than 4-6 on the West Coast is Redmond out of a job? Maybe not.
He may be pleased with the situation, but Jennings may not be in an ideal spot. If the Marlins continue to struggle, he too may be out of a job. Jennings has been loyal to Owner Jeffrey Loria, but anything is possible. Miami may be making several notable front office and coaching changes again at the end of the season.
Miami reportedly did not explore other options but that might change at the end of the season. An experienced manager would have made sense but is there a distinct personality that could help the Marlins at this moment?
Jennings is in as the next Marlins' manager and time will tell whether the move will be beneficial. But for an organization that took pride in moving towards stability during the offseason, adding Jennings at this point could be questionable.