For the first time in seven years, the Marlins are in need of a new major league manager following Don Mattingly’s departure. Fish Stripes will dedicate articles to each of the candidates who interview for the position.
Pedro Grifol is a Miami native and a baseball lifer.
Grifol was named Florida State High School Player of the Year in 1988 as a senior at Christopher Columbus. An All-American catcher at Florida State University, he was selected by the Twins in the sixth round of the 1991 MLB Draft. He spent the rest of the decade playing in minors, reaching the Triple-A level with both the Twins and Mets organizations, but never quite breaking through to The Show.
In 2000, Grifol transitioned from player to area scout with the Mariners, searching for talent in South Florida and Puerto Rico. He got his first managerial reps with their short-season Everett AquaSox affiliate from 2003-2005. Grifol has since worked in a wide variety of roles, including director of minor league operations, special assignment coach, hitting coach, catching coach and quality control coach. Most recently, he served as the Royals bench coach under recently fired Mike Matheny.
This is not Grifol’s first time pursuing a major league managerial vacancy. He interviewed with the Giants in 2019 and the Tigers in 2020, teams that ultimately hired Gabe Kapler and A.J. Hinch, respectively. During this current hiring cycle, aside from the Marlins, he has interviewed with the Royals and White Sox.
Grifol will be 53 years old in November.
Why would the Marlins want Pedro Grifol?
If the Marlins are trying to make a sharp pivot away from Don Mattingly’s style, Grifol could be their guy. He has seen the game of baseball from so many different perspectives. It’s one thing to be receptive to new types of data like Mattingly was, but it’s another to be enthusiastic about using it and fluent enough to get players to trust it.
“I love combining the old-fashioned gut feel and looking at the large sample numbers to see how they match,” Grifol told Rustin Dodd of The Athletic during his stint as Kansas City’s quality control coach.
Grifol and Jorge Soler overlapped in K.C. for parts of five seasons (2017-2021), including Soler’s career year of 2019. Soler is poised to be the most expensive player on the 2023 Marlins roster and it’s crucial for the Fish to extract better production out of him than they did this past summer. Perhaps a familiar face would help.
Soler delivered the late-game heroics, but he tells translator Pedro Grifol it's a team effort on offense: "He feels like we're putting good at-bats together the last couple games... He's happy where we are offensively." #AlwaysRoyal pic.twitter.com/PEfNmzBB4J— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) June 18, 2019
In addition to Soler, nearly one-third of the players on the Marlins 40-man roster are native Spanish speakers, as is a significant portion of the franchise’s fanbase. The bilingual Grifol would be able to connect with them more intimately than a skipper who’s only fluent in English.
Even those on the Marlins who don’t have any history with Grifol can respect that he contributed to a World Series title in 2015.
Why would Pedro Grifol want the Marlins job?
Grifol continues to make his offseason home in Miami with his wife and three children. Aside from the convenience that would come with working there throughout the regular season, keep in mind that the Marlins do spring training in nearby Jupiter, whereas the Royals and White Sox hold their camps across the country in Arizona.
It goes without saying that Grifol would be motivated by the opportunity to earn more money and hold greater influence than he has in any of his previous positions. Hard to imagine him turning down the Marlins if they are the only MLB team to offer him a managerial gig.
Would Pedro Grifol be a good hire for the Marlins?
This poll is closed
Not sure/no opinion