A Look Back at Miami Marlins Managers: Part 2

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The Miami Marlins have been an organization that has been known for bringing up young talent, then trading them away in exchange for more prospects. Managing the Marlins has always been a difficult task and in part two of this series, we explore the most recent managers in this team’s history and how these individuals have impacted the Marlins organization and Major League Baseball.

Fredi Gonzalez

Fredi Gonzalez managed the Marlins for three and half years, from 2007 to 2010, compiling an overall record of 276-279. Before he became a manager for the Marlins, he was a sixteenth overall pick of the 1982 amateur draft. He was a New York Yankees catcher for six seasons as well as a manager for the Atlanta Braves. He as becomes the Marlins as a third baseman coach from 1999 to 2001. He returned to the Marlins as the manager in 2007. He has spent a significant amount of time with the Marlins impacting the players. He led the Marlins to winning records in 2008 and 2009 and oversaw the development of young players such as shortstop Hanley Ramírez, outfielder Chris Coghlan and, pitcher Josh Johnson. In May 2010, González got into a feud with star shortstop Ramírez after Ramírez failed to hustle on a defensive play. A month later, on June 23, Gonzalez was fired with the team in 4th place with a record of 34-36.

Edwin Rodriguez

After Gonzalez, Edwin Rodriguez stepped in as the manager for the Marlins to complete to 2010 season and was the first manager from Puerto Rico in major league history. While he was only the manager of the Marlins for a year, the team went 46-46 and a third-place finish to close out the 2010 season and were trending upward in the 2011 season. To start the year, the Marlins were 31-22 through May. June got off to a rough start with the Marlins losing 17 of 18 games, causing Rodriguez to unexpectedly resign before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 20th. He was temporarily replaced by his bench coach, Brandon Hyde, while the Marlins pondered what to do next. He left with a 32-39 record and the team in 5th place, for a total record of 78-85 across two seasons. His bosses then decided to bring back 80-year-old Jack McKeon to finish the season. After his time with the Marlins, he returned back to Puerto Rico to serve as executive director of the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy High School in Gurabo. He also managed the Puerto Rican national team in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Ozzie Guillen

After Rodriguez, Ozzie Guillen has stepped in as manager for the Marlins. He was a former shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, an All-Star as well as a fan favorite, and later returned to the White Sox as a manager, leading them to their first World Series in almost a century. He became the manager for the Marlins in 2012 as the Marlins inaugurated their new name and ballpark. With his experience as a manager and a former MLB player, Guillen was expected to elevate the team’s play, which just a few seasons earlier was competitive within the division. He was known for having a big mouth that caused him to get into serious trouble and it didn’t take long, this included a time when had to apologize for quoting a touchy subject that affected the Hispanic Community at the start of the year.

The 2012 Marlins saw many ups and downs throughout the season. May got off to a slow start, going 8-14 but the team looked to be hitting their stride in May, going 21-8 and even peaking at first place in the division in early June at 31-23. That success did not last long, however. The team began to struggle and Guillen was involved in a major incident on July 15th with the Washington Nationals’ then-rookie, Bryce Harper. Guillen asked home plate umpire, Marty Foster, to check Harper’s bat in the 1st inning, believing it to have excessive pine tar. When Harper came to the plate with a new bat in the 4th inning, he pointed the bat at Ozzie, prompting Guillen to erupt in the dugout with a tirade of shouts, and called him out after the game. Between the team’s struggles and Guillen’s outspoken personality, there was much speculation that he and owner Jeff Loria had a strained relationship. Comments from players in the dugout pointed to speculation that the dugout was not completely behind Guillen either. Ozzie Guillen only lasted one year in Miami, posted a 69-93 record, and was fired, even though he still had three years left on his contract.

Mike Redmond

Stepping up to the plate as a manager is Mike Redmond, who was primarily a backup catcher during his 13-year big league career and played for the Marlins, Minnesota Twins, and the Cleveland Indians. During his time behind the plate, he went 253 games without committing an error between 2004 and 2010, setting a big-league record. Owner Jeffrey Loria cited his close ties with the Marlins organization, involvement on the 2003 World Series-winning Marlins team, and his great baseball mind, as factors that motivated the choice. Redmond spent two and half seasons as manager for the Marlins between 2013-2015. When the Marlins were shut out in their first two games of the season, Redmond became only the second manager in major league history to have that happen; the first had been Jack Chapman of the 1876 Louisville Grays. With the firesale of the roster prior to the 2013 season, not much was expected of the Marlins and they finished 62-100.

In the following seasons, the Marlins continued to struggle, but they continue to show improvement, finishing 77-85 in 2014. The Marlins went out on a limb before the 2015 season, signing Stanton to a huge long-term contract and adding a number of pieces around him such as 2nd baseman Dee Gordon and 3rd baseman Martin Prado. The message was they were serious about being competitive immediately, but they got off to a poor start in the 2015 season. On May 17th, after coming within one out of the Marlins being no-hit by Shelby Miller of the Atlanta Braves, completing a three-game sweep, Redmond was fired along with bench coach Rob Leary. Redmond finished 16-22 that season and with an overall record of 155-207.

Dan Jennings

The next manager to come up for the Marlins is Dan Jennings. He was a high school coach, a baseball scout, and an executive before being appointed a major league manager. He was a part of the Marlins organization as a Vice President of Player Personnel. He was promoted to General Manager in late 2013. He stayed in the position until May 18, 2015, when he stepped down to become the team’s field manager, replacing the fired Mike Redmond. Jennings’ appointment as the Marlins manager was considered puzzling by most observers, given his only managerial or coaching experience was at the high school level, and his playing experience was minimal as well. He insisted on having experienced coach Mike Goff who was serving as an advance scout for the Marlins, named as his bench coach.

The Marlins lost their first five games under Jennings’ watch before finally squeezing out a 13-inning, 1-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles on May 23rd. Heading into September, the question was whether he would be able to finish the year as a manager or would be fired immediately, as it was now clear to everyone that the experiment, whatever it was supposed to accomplish, had failed. He was relieved of his managerial duties after the season, being replaced by Don Mattingly. He also lost his GM job, being fired on October 29th, the day Mattingly’s hiring was announced. Jennings finished the season with a 55-69 record, leading the Marlins to a 71-91 record and a third-place finish in the NL East.

Don Mattingly

The current manager for the Marlins is Don Mattingly. He was hired following the 2015 season after being fired as manager for the Dodgers from 2011-2015. While the 2016 season was not considered a success in the eyes of many, the Marlins finished with 79 wins, the most since 2010 in Mattingly’s first season. He led the team to a second-place finish in 2017, and the future of the team looked quite promising, with young players such as 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich. When owner Jeff Loria sold the team, Derek Jeter was included in the ownership group and was named head of baseball operations. That optimism turned sour, however, as the front office had a firesale and shipped out all of its promising young players. As expected, the Marlins had a rough time during the 2018 season, finishing 63-98.

The 2019 season was more of the same, with the Marlins being completely outclassed by their competition and finishing a dismal 57-105, but that September the front office gave Mattingly a vote of confidence, extending his contract for two more seasons. On August 6, 2020, Don Mattingly became the winningest manager in Marlins history with his 282nd win, moving past Jack McKeon. Even though the 2020 season was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marlins finished 31-29 and claimed a postseason slot, where they continued to surprise, sweeping away the Chicago Cubs in two games in the Wild Card Series before finally bowing out to the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series. Since joining the Marlins, Mattingly has started a tradition of letting one of his veteran players manage the team for the last game of the season. In 2016, it was Martin Prado. A.J. Ellis followed suit in 2017, J.T. Realmuto in 2018, and Miguel Rojas in 2019.

The 2021 Marlins team boasted their highest win total since 2017, finishing 67-95, and have more promising young talent in their system, led by 2B Jazz Chisholm. During his six seasons as the Marlins’ manager, Mattingly has posted an overall record of 374-494 with one postseason appearance.

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My name is Charity Martin. I'm 29 years old. I'm from the state of Georgia. My favorite sports to watch is Baseball, Hockey, and Gymnastics. I cover the Miami Marlins for OTH Baseball as well as the Florida Panthers for OTH Hockey. My favorite teams are the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Bulldogs, New Jersey Devils, and Florida Panthers.