The Miami Marlins are now interested in hiring "experienced" managerial candidates following the failed 2015 season. Dan Jennings will moving back to the front office, regardless of the potential problems occurring between him and Jeffrey Loria, and the team is looking to move on from their inexperienced manager play that they tried with Mike Redmond last time. The Fish are looking at, among others, Rick Renteria as a possible managerial choice for next season. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe mentioned a few other names as well, including former big league managers Ron Gardenhire, Dusty Baker, Bud Black, and Ron Roenicke.
Let's take a brief look at each of those names and assess the team's potential fit.
Renteria is a former Marlins hand and has been involved in coaching in the organization before. He played briefly for the expansion version of the Marlins in 1993 and 1994 before retiring, then got his first coaching gig professionally with the team in 1998. He coached in the minors for the Fish until 2001, when he moved on to the San Diego Padres organization. Overall, he spent seven years as a coach or manager in the big leagues and has been involved in professional baseball coaching for 17 years.
Another advantage Renteria has over these other "experienced" names is that he is of Hispanic origin, which was listed as a positive for his ability to communicate and connect with the Hispanic players on the Marlins roster.
However, Renteria does not have a lot of Major League experience as a manager. After all, he got his first and only coaching gig in Chicago in 2014, and he lost his job shortly thereafter because the front office opted for Joe Maddon over him. He had a poor season in Chicago, but it was clearly a rebuilding campaign, so it is difficult to blame him for their struggles. However, if the Marlins expected to have an experienced big league manager, Renteria's one year of experience does not seem to fit the bill. Even his seven years as a big-league coach overall are not astounding compared to the other candidates on the list.
Renteria's history as a Marlins hand also does not play up in this case. He spent time in the team's organization, but it was under the ownership of John Henry, not the regime of Loria. For all intents and purposes, he is a new man to this group.
Gardenhire is well known as the former manager of the Minnesota Twins for 13 years from 2002 to 2014. His role on a consistent product that accrued many successful seasons is something the Marlins would love to have on their side. Gardenhire fits the front office mentality of primarily a scouting-based approach, as he notoriously was hard-headed about analytics in the past and was a part of an organization that ignored it for many years. He is also a bit of an opposite side to the Redmond player's coach style, as Gardenhire is a no-nonsense military brat who was classically hard on the players.
Of course, that is what the Marlins had in 2012, when they hired Ozzie Guillen to manage the team. That supposedly failed enough for the team to fire Guillen and start anew, so what are the odds that a similar hire like Gardenhire is going to work? It is a different roster, and there appears to be resentment brewing in the clubhouse, so maybe the team now needs a firmer hand to guide the team? It is difficult to say whether that is the right step.
Baker is best known for last running down the great arms of early 2000's Cubs before making his way out of that team in 2006 and joining the Cincinnati Reds organization. His track record with taking care of arms in Cincinnati was not significantly better, though he had fewer high-profile losses like Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Baker also has a strong reputation for being old-school in thinking, like Gardenhire, and while that may agree with the team's front office, it would not be beneficial for the roster.
The Marlins' longstanding history of needing to use young arms out of their minor league system should preclude them from snagging Baker. There are already a number of guys who are struggling with injuries in the rotation, including Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez, and putting either of them through a few seasons of Baker may be concerning.
Black's name has come up before as a preferable option. Black was the manager of the San Diego Padres for parts of nine seasons, including a small bit of 2015. This year, with expectations high in San Diego, Black's team went 32-33 under his leadership and he was dismissed. Black has had a rather questionable history managing the Padres, who struggled often during his stint. The Padres held a .477 win percentage under Black, and he did preside over a division loss to the Giants in 2010 when the Padres had a significant lead in the standings.
Black has the experience and a not-terrible reputation that the Marlins could look for in their next manager. He would not be a bad option.
Roenicke oversaw the last few seasons of the Milwaukee Brewers, starting in 2011 with their fantastic division-winning run. The team then posted a few more successful seasons, but did fail to make the playoffs in all subsequent seasons under Roenicke. He also oversaw the Brewers' collapse last season, when they held the division title for a majority of the year before faltering in the second half and losing it to the St. Louis Cardinals after the early lead. Roenicke was fired in 2015 after a slow start for the team, which is now 61-77.
Clearly the Brewers had a team ready for success for Roenicke when he stepped into the job, but after that point, he has more or less held a league-average record. It is hard to separate the accomplishments of the Brewers and Roenicke's role. However, like Renteria, Roenicke was not given a significant amount of time to manage in the bigs and has extensive experience in the minors and under various successful coaches. He has been a minor or Major League coach since 1992, and served as a coach at various levels under Los Angeles Angels coach Mike Scioscia for six years. Coming from the Scioscia managerial branch is generally a positive thing.
Roenicke may be another candidate with a reasonable amount of experience who could be a fit for the Marlins. He would be another preferable choice if the team chooses to go the experienced route.