Whatever expectations Marlins ownership and the front office had for the 2015 season — none were stated publicly — a 16-22 record with two series-sweep losses to a below-average division opponent fell short of them.
That’s the only logical conclusion after the Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond and bench coach Rob Leary following the team’s 6-0 loss to Atlanta on Sunday at Marlins Park. The defeat, one out from being a no-hitter by Atlanta’s Shelby Miller, completed a Braves sweep; a stretch of six Marlins losses in seven games; and a longer trend of 10 losses in 14 games since the Marlins won nine out of 10.
Redmond’s record in 362 games in just over two seasons as Marlins manager was 155-207. He received an extension through 2017 after a 77-85 record last year. The move means Marlins ownership and management changed their minds about Redmond just 23.5 percent of a season later. It also means they’re now paying two fired managers — Redmond and his predecessor, Ozzie Guillen.
Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill said the team would name a new manager at a news conference at 11 a.m. Monday. According to Marlins sources, an interim manager for the rest of the season is likely while the team searches for a replacement with major-league managing experience.
Veteran manager Dusty Baker, who last managed the Reds in 2013 and is now 65, has had his named tossed around. Among possible internal candidates are third-base coach Brett Butler, who managed five years for Triple A Reno (Nevada), and former Marlin Jeff Conine, a special assistant to Hill.
Among the recyclables possibly available: former Houston manager and Marlins third-base coach Bo Porter, who is now Atlanta’s third-base coach, or former Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke.
“We’re just looking for a new voice,” Hill said. “There’s still supreme belief and confidence in the men in that clubhouse.
“We haven’t played to our capabilities. And we’re hopeful that a new voice will spark and motivate our guys, and get them going to perform in the way that we think they’re capable of performing.”
The men in that clubhouse, generally a pro-Redmond bunch, had little to say after being informed of the changes during a postgame team meeting.
“A bit of a surprise,” said relief pitcher Steve Cishek, who blew two saves last week in San Francisco and Los Angeles. “Obviously, I feel bad for them. It’s not their fault.”
Sunday’s Marlins starter and losing pitcher Henderson Alvarez, fresh off the 15-day disabled list after missing starts with right shoulder inflammation, said through an interpreter: “We’re going to hold our heads up high. That’s how baseball goes. You have your good days and your bad days. Now, it’s just about keep going forward, and we’ll get our good day.”
The major league’s leading hitter, second baseman Dee Gordon, refused to speak to the media. Outfielder Christian Yelich spoke in clipped sentences about the game after declaring he wouldn’t talk about the firings. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton’s postgame locker room departure coincided with the room opening to the media.
Whether coincidental or not, the first talk of Redmond’s job being in jeopardy followed Stanton questioning how hard the Marlins played in losing 11 of their first 14 games. Marlins sources told the Miami Herald that Redmond would be fired without a turnaround.
Wins in nine of their next 10 games quieted that talk for the moment. But starting with a 6-2 home loss to Philadelphia, for which Redmond rested a red-hot Gordon and Martin Prado, the Marlins went from rolling to struggling — 10 losses in 14 games.
Going 4-6 on a 10-day, 10-game road trip against division favorite Washington, Los Angeles and defending World Series champion San Francisco usually doesn’t bring the managerial funeral march.
But coming home to get swept again by the Braves, who are 12-19 everywhere but Marlins Park this season and 6-0 in Little Havana, helps nobody’s job security.
Still, such a major change after 38 games usually says a team is in danger of falling out of contention. Unless you’re the Marlins, in which case there could also be a little attempt at déjà vu — in 2003, the Marlins fired Jeff Torborg after a 16-22 start and wound up winning the World Series.
Of course, that Marlins team turned out to be much more talented than originally thought, especially in pitching depth with the emerging Dontrelle Willis joining A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett. Whether or not this year’s Marlins model possesses that ability remains to be seen.
“We’re looking for that consistency,” Hill said. “We’re swinging the bats well, at times, but not when we need to do it. We’re pitching well, at times, but not when we need to do it. I think the solution is in that clubhouse. And we just need to solve it.”
Managers under Loria
The Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond on Sunday after a 16-22 start and announced they will introduce their skipper at an 11 a.m. Monday news conference at Marlins Park. A look at the eight men who have managed the team under owner Jeffrey Loria over the past 13 years:
▪ Jeff Torborg (2002-03): Managed 200 games and compiled a 95-105 record. He was fired 38 games into the 2003 season when the Marlins were 16-22. That team went on to win the World Series.
▪ Jack McKeon (2003-05): Managed 448 games and compiled a 241-207 record, winning the World Series in 2003. After the Marlins won the last game of the 2005 season, McKeon announced he would not be returning. He led the Marlins to three of the six winning seasons in franchise history.
▪ Joe Girardi (2006): Managed 162 games and compiled a 78-84 record. He was fired despite winning the National League Manager of the Year award for keeping the Marlins, a team with a $15 million payroll, in contention in the wild-card race. He is now managing the Yankees.
▪ Fredi Gonzalez (2007-10): Managed 555 games and compiled a 276-279 record. He was fired 70 games into the 2010 season with the Marlins at 34-36. He is managing the Braves, who swept the Marlins this past weekend.
▪ Edwin Rodriguez (2010-11): Managed 163 games and compiled a 78-85 record. The team was 32-39 and in last place in the NL East when he resigned on June 19, 2011.
▪ Brandon Hyde (2011): Served as interim manager for one game before the Marlins announced the return of McKeon as manager for the remaining 90 games of the season. The team went 40-50 under McKeon for the rest of 2011.
▪ Ozzie Guillen (2012): Managed only one season and went 69-93 before being fired. The Marlins traded two prospects to get Guillen from the White Sox, since Guillen was still under contract in Chicago. They also are still paying Guillen what’s left of a four-year deal he signed with the team. He currently works for ESPN.
▪ Mike Redmond (2013-Sunday): Managed 362 games and went 155-207 before being fired on Sunday. The team gave him a three-year contract extension through 2017 after he went 77-85 with the Marlins in 2014.