Published On: Thu, Jun 24th, 2010

Marlins Fire Manager Fredi Gonzalez

By: Matt Bluestein

Fredi Gonzalez has been on the hot seat since the conclusion of last season. Loria was believed to be very infuriated as a result of the Marlins failure to reach the playoffs. Finally, Jeffrey Loria reached his boiling point. On Wednesday, he was shown the door and sent packing after three years as the team’s manager.

The Marlins also fired bench coach Carlos Tosca and hitting coach Jim Presley. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was quoted as saying “we can do better and be better.” The Marlins are currently 34-36 on the season and they are sitting in fourth place in the National League East at 7.5 games out of first. Edwin Rodriguez will take over the managerial duties as the interim manager. Rodriguez has spent one and a half seasons as the manager of Triple A New Orleans. Also, Brandon Hyde was named to take over as interim bench coach and John Mallee was named interim hitting coach.  In three plus seasons as the Marlins manager Gonzalez accumulated a record of 276-279.

Interestingly, Gonzalez is the third manager to lose his job. Dave Trembley of Baltimore and Trey Hillman of Kansas City were both previously fired. Gonzalez could find himself as Bobby Cox’s successor in Atlanta. Gonzalez will most likely be on Atlanta’s list as one of Bobby Cox’s potential successors. Also, Gonzalez and Cox have a very good relationship, which could ultimately help Gonzalez land the job in 2011. It is true that the timing of the firing is kind of bizarre considering the Marlins took two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays and after they defeated Baltimore last night 10-4. What I question is, why didn’t this happen earlier on during the season?

As a result, I believe the firing was definitely merited. The main reason why it was the correct decision to fire Gonzalez is because he did a lousy job motivating the team. At times during the season the team has looked flat and listless. I believe this was a true reflection of Fredi Gonzalez. The Marlins have also been lacking in the confidence department.  In addition, he never showed much fire and intensity.

For example, he showed a reluctance to argue bad calls to the umpires and he very rarely ever got tossed from games. Furthermore, he did not do a good job managing the bullpen and he had a tendency to pencil in some head scratching lineups. At the end of the day, Gonzalez’s laid back managerial style was extremely ineffective.

His greatest performance as the Marlins manager was the way he handled the Hanley Ramirez situation. Gonzalez benched Hanley Ramirez after he made a mockery of himself by kicking a looper that fell right in front of him and by not hustling after the ball. I believe he should have received more credit for the way he handled this ridiculous incident. Gonzalez handled the situation with professionalism and class.

Regardless, there was no way this incident could save his job. As far as his job performance is concerned you must ask yourself these questions.  Was he a great communicator?  Was he a great strategist?  Was he a master motivator? The answers to these three questions are no, no and are you kidding me?  Fredi Gonzalez was nothing more than an average manager at best. At the end of the day, mediocrity is just not good enough.  I understand that he did the best he could under limited resources, but he still must be held accountable.  Good luck in your future endeavors Fredi.  Don’t let the door hit you on your way out!

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