Since Jack McKeon is so old that he has a rotary cell phone, bringing him back in a significant capacity is unrealistic.
But something has to be done.
The Marlins are 5-18 in June and have fallen into last place in the NL East.
All is not lost however. In spite of their 34-40 record, they’re 9 games out of first place in the division. It’s a deficit that can be overcome. They’re also 5 1/2 games out of the Wild Card lead. With two Wild Cards available, there’s no reason for them to give up.
But they do need to do something to shake it up.
Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Manager Ozzie Guillen is going nowhere.
It’s not pitching coach Randy St. Claire’s fault that Carlos Zambrano’s velocity is down to about 88 mph; that Heath Bell has been dreadful; that the bullpen overall hasn’t performed. But the pitching coach is an easy fire.
It would be cannibalistic of owner Jerffrey Loria to fire Eduardo Perez while he counts Eduardo’s father Tony Perez as a friend and adviser, but he’s fired friends before when he dumped Jeff Torborg in favor of McKeon in 2003. Firing the hitting coach is symbolic, but it would count as doing something.
Make a trade/demotion.
Logan Morrison had a right to complain—within reason—when he was demoted to Triple A last August. But the club had warned him about his ubiquitous presence on social media and told him to tone it down. He ignored organizational responsibilities and those warnings. They sent him to the minors and brought him back shortly thereafter. He quieted down on Twitter. So it worked.
This time a demotion will be because of performance. Period. A .224/.302/.379 slash line with 7 homers isn’t cutting it.
They sent Gaby Sanchez down once and it didn’t help. The next step is to trade him for another team’s headache.
Trading Hanley Ramirez would drop a bomb in the clubhouse. The likeliest scenario of trading Ramirez would be during the off-season, but they can listen to offers now.
The Dodgers need a third baseman and a bat. The Padres are listening on Chase Headley. Maybe Ramirez and Morrison for Headley, Huston Street and Carlos Quentin would make sense. The Padres could spin Ramirez off this winter for more than they traded to get him.
Remove Bell from the closer’s role for the rest of the season.
If he wasn’t signed for 3 years not only would he have been demoted, they might’ve released him.
His teammates, coaches, manager and front office can say they believe in Bell all they want, but only a fool thinks they’re telling the truth. No one is comfortable when he enters the game and while a veteran is allowed to slump, he’s not allowed to torpedo the whole season. They don’t have enticing options, but a closer-by-committee is better than this.
Stay the course.
At this rate, if they do that they’ll be staying the course all the way to Miami’s finest golf courses.
With teams that are operating in bad luck or have veteran rosters with a history of winning, it’s reasonable to hold out and wait. That’s not the case with this patched together group. Loria knows this and something’s going to be done to awaken a shellshocked and increasingly ambivalent clubhouse.