Ozzie Guillen is out. So now what?
Fresh off a 69-93 last-place finish and with roster questions abundant, the Marlins officially began their search Tuesday for what will be the franchise’s fifth manager since Fredi Gonzalez was fired halfway through the 2010 season.
So what is owner Jeffrey Loria’s organization looking for after this latest divorce?
“I think we are looking for what everybody is looking for,” said Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations.
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“We are looking for a guy who can extract the most out of our talent, who knows how to hit their hot buttons and can bring them back when they are down and when they are struggling. To have good solid communication with the front office and with ownership on a plan. To know we are all working together and everybody is buying in toward a final goal of winning.
“At times we have done a better job of identifying that individual, and at other times we haven’t. We’re going to try to find the right guy this time and move forward.”
With the Marlins still on the hook for what’s left of Guillen’s contract ($7.5 million), most expect the team will turn to a younger and less-expensive manager.
Asked about managerial experience — which the Cardinals and White Sox didn’t factor in their decision when they went out and hired Mike Matheny and Robin Ventura before this season — Beinfest said Tuesday that wouldn’t necessarily be a factor.
“I think we are open to everything,” Beinfest said. “If you have a good, smart baseball person, and they are adaptable, and they have good people skills, they can absolutely go right into that job.
“Those are good examples in Matheny and Ventura; they both had terrific years and they came right off from retirement into those jobs. We’d be open to it.”
Former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, whom Loria was interested in before ultimately hiring Guillen 13 months ago, is definitely not a candidate, according to sources.
Former Marlins Mike Lowell and Jeff Conine, two guys who would fit into the category of non-experienced managers with strong connections to the club, both have said recently they’re not interested in managing yet.
The first candidate the Marlins have acknowledged as a possibility is former backup catcher Mike Redmond, who managed last season at Single A Dunedin (Toronto Blue Jays). Redmond, 41, was with the Marlins from 1998 to 2004 and won a World Series ring in 2003.
The Marlins would need permission from the Blue Jays to speak to Redmond, but that’s not expected to be an issue.
The Blue Jays are one of two other clubs looking for a big-league manager. Colorado, which appears to be strongly considering the recently retired Jason Giambi, is the other.
Who else is out there?
Brad Ausmus, a 43-year old special assistant in San Diego, is considered one of the hot, young managerial names in baseball and was recently interviewed by the Red Sox.
Rich Renteria, a 51-year-old bench coach with the Padres, is a former Marlin who got the first pinch hit in club history and managed in the organization’s minor-league system from 1998 to 2001 before joining the Padres in 2004.
Other potential candidates around the league could include: Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, 55; Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., 46; Orioles third base coach Demarlo Hale, 51; and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, 51.
“We will put together a list that will hopefully put a person in place that will take our current level of talent, of which we think we have good talent, and reignite our winning culture,” Beinfest said. “We don’t need to necessarily talk about winning divisions or winning wild cards and winning this and that. We need to win period, and we need to have that culture here.”
Since hiring and firing National League Manager of the Year Joe Girardi in 2006, the Marlins haven’t strayed much outside of their organizational ties for a manager.
Could the rough relationships with previous managers scare outside candidates away?
“I really don’t think so,” Beinfest said. “There are 30 major-league managing jobs. As bad as things were, there’s a lot of things going for us here. We have this beautiful new building. We have some really good young talent. I would think this would be very attractive to a lot of people, so that would not be a great concern.”