Cameron: The Marlins, managers, and the changing game

From Dave Cameron at FanGraphs on May 19, 2015:

On Sunday, the Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond. It’s what teams do when they find themselves performing worse than expected, even if expectations of contention were probably less realistic than the hype would have suggested. The manager is the fall guy when things go badly, though, and things are going badly in Miami, so Redmond was shown the door. It’s how baseball works, especially baseball in Miami, and Redmond certainly knew what he was signing up for when he took the job.

On Monday, though, things took a turn away from the norm. Instead of promoting a minor league manager, or one of the team’s remaining coaches, or even turning to a former player who was being groomed as a manager-of-the-future, the Marlins just put their General Manager in charge of the clubhouse. Dan Jennings, the guy who built this roster, is now tasked with trying to turn it into a winner on the field. After years of ranting that analytical GMs were undermining the value of the manager’s role, it turns out to be an old-school scout who is going to try to run everything all at once. The irony is delicious.

But while I’m no big fan of the Marlins organization, I’m also hesitant to cast too many aspersions against this decision. The narrative is really quite easy and lends itself to scorn and ridicule, but I remain convinced that we, as outsiders, have very little to evaluate the quality of a manager even after we’ve seen them perform at the job, so when it comes to evaluating managerial prospects, I just don’t know that we can say anything with any kind of credibility.

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Originally published: May 19, 2015. Last Updated: May 19, 2015.