Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria on Friday all but denied a published report that Larry Beinfest would be fired as the team’s president of baseball operations and replaced by assistant general manager Dan Jennings.
But Loria declined to say whether Beinfest or manager Ozzie Guillen will be retained.
Media speculation has swirled for weeks that Beinfest could be replaced by Jennings or general manager Michael Hill.
USA Today took that a step further Thursday, reporting that Beinfest would be fired and replaced by Jennings, potentially as early as next week.
Informed of the report, Loria said by phone: “I never comment on any ridiculous and fabricated rumors.” He declined to comment further.
USA Today also reported Guillen is expected to be retained, but Loria has refused to discuss Guillen during recent interviews.
Indications are that Loria is still deciding what changes to make in the wake of an immensely disappointing season. Despite a payroll in the $100 million range, the Marlins enter this weekend’s series against the Mets in last place in the National League East with a 66-84 record.
Beinfest, Jennings and Hill all have contracts that run through 2015. MLB Network’s Peter Gammons previously reported that Beinfest likely would be reassigned, not fired.
“The whole organization is under review, and the whole organization is responsible for what’s happened,” Beinfest said on his 790 The Ticket radio show this week. “Ultimately, it’s up to Jeffrey to decide if he wants to make changes and say this component of my decision-making team or this component of my field team, or whatever it is, isn’t up to snuff.”
The Marlins, who entered Friday one game behind the fourth-place Mets, are trying to avoid their second consecutive last-place finish. They were 72-90 last season.
The Marlins have an 874-895 record in Beinfest’s 11 seasons heading up the team’s baseball operations department. But Loria has been involved in major personnel decisions, advocating the signing of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, John Buck and Randy Choate, among others.
“When you sign up for this job and you don’t win, you know you can be in the crosshairs and you can lose your job,” Beinfest said earlier this month on his radio show. “That’s just the way it is. The blame and disappointment and all those things fall squarely on my shoulders, and I fully understand that. When you don’t win, you’re open to scrutiny, both publicly and internally. That’s exactly what’s going on.”
Guillen, who has three seasons left on his four-year, $10 million contract, said this week he expects to return next season but has received no feedback from Loria.
Asked this week about Guillen, Beinfest said on his radio show: “It’s easy to say, ‘Well, Ozzie didn’t do this, Larry didn’t do that, Jeffrey didn’t do this, and [team president] David [Samson] did that.
“I think it’s real easy to do a lot of that right now, but it’s all of us. If Hanley Ramirez didn’t perform, you know what? I was part of the negotiating team that gave him the long-term contract. I was part of the decision-making team that kept him here and wanted him to perform.
“... It’s everybody. Ultimately, to lay it all on Ozzie, and say you know what, Ozzie gets the blame just as much as I do. That’s just the way it is right now. But everyone has to kind of wear this one.”