Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Firing Fredi: Good or Bad?

June 23, 2010

The Florida Marlins announced that they fired manager Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday morning after a 10-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The timing of the decision seems predetermined as such firings are not usually made after a blowout win. However the Marlins do find themselves 7.5 games behind the N.L. East lead and are under-performing in the eyes of the front office.

In all fairness to Gonzalez, he was not the one who dictated the performance of the Marlins bullpen, which has failed to hold leads and close out games all season long. The Achilles heel of this ballclub was, and still is, the relief pitching. And while Gonzalez had the responsibility to manage who would take the mound in relief, the sporadic play of the bullpen made it difficult to establish a consistent rotation. In sum, Fredi was not the one giving up games in the late innings because of his decision-making abilities.

Moving forward, the Marlins must now find a way to stay focused and continue to compete for a playoff spot; be it a division title or wild card berth.

Although the front office named Triple-A New Orleans manager Edwin Rodriguez (pictured right) as the new interim head honcho, it must be speculated that another candidate is waiting in the balance. Similar to 2003, when the Marlins fired then-manager Jeff Torborg and hired Jack McKeon, this could just be a primer to the coming of the next "Jack." What is unknown is whether that move will come during this season or after it is over. Perhaps the owner Jeffrey Loria will allow Rodriguez to prove himself and has sufficient confidence in him to lead the Marlins to the promised land.

Whatever the case may be, keep this in mind. After the Marlins fired their skipper in 2003 and brought in McKeon, shortly thereafter they fell to 19-29, which was the worst record in the Majors. However, we know what came after as the Marlins went on their magical playoff run that led to their second World Series title in six seasons. In order for the 2010 Marlins to make such a run, it would require an uplifting boost in the confidence of their pitching staff and an unyielding desire to prove the odds wrong. It's a tough task ahead, but the Marlins have a history of accomplishing such tasks. 

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