Last July, the Marlins opted to upgrade their starting rotation and Mike Redmond likely had asked for an additional starting arm. But as this year's non-waiver trading deadline approaches, the Marlins may find themselves in a different situation.
Dan Jennings has had some success since moving from the front office into the dugout. The Marlins' starters are going deeper into games, the bullpen is not being overused, and the offense is producing consistently. While Jennings does not directly control each player's productivity, he is responsible for the lineup and determining when to pinch hit or replace a starter of reliever. And to this point his decisions have proven to be valuable and beneficial.
Although he has not been in the dugout for long, Jennings may indeed be the Marlins' manager in 2016. But as the Marlins consider upgrades, perhaps there is nobody in a better position to make personnel decisions than Jennings, who not only helped assemble the current roster, but now also has the opportunity to manage the players he pursued and ultimately added to Miami's roster.
Miami's early coaching change directly linked the front office to the clubhouse in a way that initially was considered with skepticism. But as the Marlins, even after a loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night, inch closer to five hundred, executives without experience may be considered to manage major league clubs.
It was Jennings' decision to have Giancarlo Stanton bat in the cleanup spot and Christian Yelich bat third. It was Jennings' choice to have David Phelps bat eighth in a contest against the Mets. And when it comes time to determine how to improve the roster, it will come down to what Jennings feels the organization can realistically do to help the Marlins win.
While Jennings has acted as a manager first over the last few weeks, there will come a time where he will have to evaluate and consider potential moves as a general manager. He will likely dictate which deals get done and which don't, and since he has been in the clubhouse, he likely has an idea of the types of personalities compatible with those of core players.
The Marlins have been plagued by injuries, specifically within their starting rotation, and have been troubled with bullpen inconsistencies. Once Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart, and Henderson Alvarez are healthy and the bullpen becomes consistent, the Marlins may be able to make a playoff push. Bullpen and offensive depth may help the Marlins moving forward and Jennings is aware of how the club can get better. He just has to determine if it is worth surrendering prospects in order to make upgrades realistic.
Jennings may not opt to make many moves but any move he makes at this point should be notable. He is a manager and general manager, and since the two usually work together, the Marlins may make some key deals before the trade deadline.