Despite not officially announcing that Dan Jennings will not return as manager for the Marlins next season, Miami has reportedly interviewed Manny Acta as a possible replacement for Jennings after the season concludes. Understandably, the organization wants to put it's seventh consecutive losing season in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible, but this more was unexpected.
Other names are doing their rounds on the rumor mill in connection with the Marlins' next managerial hire, such as former Reds and Cubs coach Dusty Baker. However, apart from Acta, no other interviews are known to have occurred. The Marlins are looking for an experienced skipper to man the dugout in 2016 after the lack of success from Mike Redmond and then Jennings, who were both rookies when they first took the reins.
In that sense, Manny Acta is rightfully in the frame as a candidate for the position. Acta has managed 890 major league games over six seasons for the Nationals and then the Indians, where he last donned the uniform in 2012. Another positive for Manny Acta is the fact that he is from the Dominican Republic. With a large Latin population in south Florida, and more than a few players on the roster with Caribbean origins, Acta would fit right in as the new Marlins manager.
He would instantly be able to connect with some of the players and be able to communicate with them effectively, which is always necessary for a good clubhouse atmosphere. Acta would also be a younger manager in comparison with some of the other men holding the same position around the league. This could be an advantage for the organization as the Marlins may also be on the lookout for a forward thinker, which a younger skipper is more inclined to be.
There are more than a few red flags on Manny Acta's resumé, though. First of all, his managerial record over those 890 games is 372-518. Even though he has received votes for manager of the year in the past, he has never lead a team to a winning record. Furthermore, Acta never had a single major league at-bat, and only reached as high as AA over six years in the minors where he had a career .241 batting average.
As one can see, although Acta may fufill the experience requirement, and fit nicely with the cultural background of the city, he does not possess a track record of success. With that in mind, it may not be wise for a team that has a very small window to compete to push for this, in a way, unproven manager. There are more than two candidates in the fold, but Dusty Baker (the two-time NL All Star) is a more sensible option, if he is attainable, due to the fact that he has lead teams to the postseason on seven different occasions.
This next managerial hire is crucial for the Marlins. It may very well be the difference between Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez staying in Miami or abandoning ship. Given that these are two once-in-a-generation type players, this hire may very well be a defining moment in the history of the franchise. No pressure.