The Miami Marlins have hired Mike Redmond to be their next manager.
Redmond, who signed a three-year deal, was the first candidate to interview a day after Ozzie Guillen was fired following a 69-93 season and last-place finish in the National League East.
The 41-year-old former catcher becomes the franchise’s 13th manager and sixth in the past four seasons. He is also the first former Marlins player to get the job.
Redmond spent 12 years with the Marlins — including seven at the big-league level primarily as the team’s backup catcher from 1998 to 2004. He retired after the 2010 season as a career .287 hitter with 13 home runs and 243 RBI in 764 games.
Redmond, who resides in Spokane, Wash., with his wife Michele and sons Michael and Ryan in the offseason, spent the past two years managing in the Toronto Blue Jays’ minor-league system, where he went 155-115 overall.
Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, former big-league manager Larry Bowa and Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon also interviewed.
The Marlins will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Marlins Park to introduce Redmond.
Guillen, who is still owed $7.5 million over the next three years by the Marlins, was one of the first people to take to Twitter and congratulate Redmond.
“Congrats Mike Redmond for [your] new job,” Guillen tweeted. “Good luck buddy. [You] have great guys going to play for you.”
Redmond, a member of the Marlins’ 2003 World Series team, managed Single A Dunedin to a 78-55 record and first-place finish in the North Division of the Florida State League in 2012.
He was named the Midwest League’s Manager of the year in 2011 after leading Single A Lansing (Mich.) to a 77-60 record and an appearance in the league finals.
Although Redmond played in the big leagues through the 2010 season, he left the Marlins after the 2004 season and doesn’t have a lot of familiarity with the team’s current players.
Josh Johnson, the longest tenured pitcher on the Marlins staff, didn’t get his big-league call-up until 2005 but did see Redmond during spring training.
Catcher John Buck never played with Redmond, but they crossed paths plenty in the American League Central when Buck was with the Royals and Redmond was with the Twins from 2005 to 2009. Although Buck had yet to speak with Redmond as of Thursday afternoon, he said he was happy to hear Redmond had been hired.
“I’m definitely excited about it,” said Buck, who said he missed his new manager’s phone call earlier Thursday morning because he was in the gym. “I spoke with Joe Mauer when we were at the All-Star Game [in 2010] and I remember asking him specifically about Redmond because he was in our division and he came across as one of those intelligent guys who stayed in the game because he was really smart and not because he was athletically gifted.
“Joe had nothing but praise for Mike and went on and on about how much he had learned from him. Selfishly I’m pretty excited to work with him.”
Buck said he has heard from other players around the league that when Redmond “is on the field he’s all business.” But Buck said he has also heard stories about how Redmond likes to have fun and keep things light.
In 2003, when the Marlins were struggling and then-manager Jeff Torborg was fired, Redmond took nude batting practice — wearing nothing but spikes and batting gloves — in an attempt to break the team’s losing streak.
“Catchers take fastballs off our private parts for a living. We’re not all there sometimes,” Buck said, laughing. “I know he likes to have fun, but he’s also one of those last dying breeds of the old school world, that rough-nose guy who likes to get dirty and grind things out. Right away there are a lot of guys on our team who I know have respect for him.”
Last week, three former Marlins managers — Jack McKeon, John Boles and Fredi Gonzalez — all gave Redmond ringing endorsements in interviews with The Miami Herald.
The Marlins thought of making Mike Redmond a minor-league coach when his playing career was sputtering in the late 1990s.
Gonzalez was managing in the Marlins’ minor-league system when Redmond was struggling to reach the majors and recalled a staff meeting toward the end of spring training in 1998 when it was decided Redmond was going nowhere as a player and would be better off coaching.
“He was an hour or two away from starting his coaching career,” recalled Gonzalez, who now manages the Atlanta Braves. “We were real close to giving him a stopwatch, a pencil and a pad.”
But, somehow, Redmond hung on as a player, and when the Marlins continued their dismantling of the 1997 World Series team by trading Charles Johnson in May of 1998, and, one week later, Mike Piazza, the Marlins were in need of a backup catcher for Gregg Zaun. Redmond was promoted, went 3 for 3 in his first big-league game, and spent the next 13 seasons in the majors as a backup.
“He’s a guy who got every bit out of his talent,” Gonzalez said.