Nobody, but nobody had speculated that Edwin Rodriguez would resign of his own accord before getting fired. We continually saw “insiders” and “experts” making statements as to the safety or precariousness of Rodriguez’s position.
Logically, he was going to get fired—soon—had he not resigned.
This is something to look at as to the machinations of the decision.
Here’s my guess: Rodriguez resigned because he was about to be fired and the Marlins front office didn’t want to deal with the fallout of firing another manager and be perceived as a chaotic, Steinbrenneresque outfit that overestimates a flawed roster and reacts by sacrificing the easiest and most disposable member of management—the field manager.
In exchange for his resignation and silence on the inner workings of the club, Rodriguez will have a “place” within the organization either as a coach, minor league manager, roving instructor or something.
He’ll be the good soldier because he is a good soldier. Rodriguez is a workmanlike baseball man who got to the big leagues as a manager the hard way and won’t want to sabotage all that work and riding buses in the minors to tell the truth about how he “chose” to resign.
He left before they could fire him in exchange for a different job.
I’m making it a point to ignore all the continued speculation from the mainstream reporters as to what the Marlins are going to do, but here it is in brief.
First it was Bo Porter, a former Marlins coach and the current 3rd base coach of the Nationals. It’s almost unheard of in this day and age for a team to hire a coach from another team’s staff to take over as their manager.
Then Jack McKeon‘s name was mentioned.
I have the utmost respect for McKeon as an old school baseball man with the bushy mustache and unlit cigar sticking out of his mouth—he looks like he was intentionally cast in the role of a baseball professor.
But he’s 80-years-old.
It’s not age discrimination to say that he’s too old to handle the day-to-day aspects of the job and the scrutiny that will center around his age, the youth of the majority of his roster and that the team has collapsed and is in turmoil.
Some have suggested that the Marlins will name an interim manager for the rest of the season and wait for the potential availability of White sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Guillen’s job has been in “jeopardy” about 15 other times, but he’s still the White Sox manager. His 2012 option was exercised earlier this season. He’s going to remain the White Sox manager. Not only is he still popular in Chicago, but I get the feeling that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf likes having the antagonistic relationship between Guillen and GM Kenny Williams. That Williams wanted Mike Stanton as compensation from the Marlins when they made a brief overture to speak to Guillen last winter pretty much tells you how motivated he was to let Guillen go.
The thought that longtime bench coach Joey Cora can slide in neatly as Guillen’s replacement is questionable. Cora is a good, feisty baseball man; he deserves and will eventually get a chance to manage, but as has been proven before, the bench coach doesn’t always walk in and replicate the success of his predecessor. John McLaren is an example of this.
Two things tell me the Marlins are going to go for a “name” manager right now.
One, they aren’t giving up on 2011. Nor should they. The parity-laden National League has left the Wild Card wide open and if they get hot they can still climb back to within striking distance of the Phillies. The Marlins don’t do sell-offs in season—they wait until the winter to clear out the house of veterans or players who are becoming too expensive.
Two, they’re heading into the new ballpark next season and want someone who has cachet and name recognition for the casual fan to drum up some excitement.
Bo Porter ain’t it.
Owner Jeffrey Loria let his baseball people talk him out of Bobby Valentine last year. I don’t think he’s going to let that happen again. Valentine will be managing the Marlins at some point be it immediately or after the season.
They have two choices: Valentine or Tony Perez. Perez would take the job on an interim basis, his son Eduardo was recently hired as the hitting coach and Tony has always said he’d like to give managing another try.
With Valentine, the Marlins are going to have to make it worth his while to walk away from his lucrative, cushy and ego-boosting forum on the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast. They’ll have to pay him and give him some say-so over the club construction. Whether the braintrust—Larry Beinfest, Michael Hill, Dan Jennings along with club president David Samson will be on board with this is a question.
Some might, some might not.
But Loria is going to do what he’s going to do.
The Marlins should hire Valentine and they should do it immediately. He’s a great manager, he’d spark enthusiasm and he’d run the team correctly.
He’s the best choice.