There have been plenty of field managers in the history of baseball that have moved from the dugout to the executive suite and become a part of various front offices. It should conceivably be a two-way street, but it hasn’t been, with Dan Jennings being the lone modern example.
On Sunday, May 18, the Miami Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond and mysteriously selected a new manager. Countless twitter news breakers and insiders informed the public that they didn’t know who was appointed and all they knew was that they’d never be able to guess who it was. Names like Bobby Valentine, Ivan Rodriguez, and Jeff Conine were popular names being suggested, but not reported. Then this:
dan jennings is indeed the next marlins manager, according to sources.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 18, 2015
I’m not one to say that a GM, Manager, or any other non-player needs playing experience. But it certainly helps, I won’t deny that either. Jennings played college and pro ball up to the A-level before becoming a high school baseball coach and eventually, a scout.
Maybe Jennings is looking at all the head coach/GM combos in the NFL and NBA and thinks that MLB is no different. It might not be, maybe he can do both. In the meantime, Mike Berger, VP and Assistant GM, will assume the day-to-day duties. With how hectic a schedule baseball is, day-to-day duties are the whole job during the season. Jennings will struggle to operate as both the GM and Manager.
The bench coach will be a crucial crutch for Jennings in the dugout and Mike Goff has been given the job after being their Advance Scout. I’m not privy to how players feel about all GM’s, there is probably a spectrum just like in normal life. But this is a man who signed, low-balled, drafted, and everything in between for a lot of these players. It’ll be interesting to see how they take to his management style, which remains to be seen.
Giancarlo Stanton was furious with the purge of years past, but was recently taken care of. Will the players let that color their view? Who knows. I’m not sure that Jennings thinks this is going to work. Maybe he’s been given an ultimatum by owner Jeffrey Loria, maybe (probably) he hasn’t. It’s an interesting move and it might work. I wouldn’t be shocked. But it probably won’t work.
My assumption? Loria told Jennings he would not pay three managers concurrently. If he wanted to fire Redmond for the slow start to the season, Jennings would have to find someone to do it for free, or do it himself. No inside info there, but I could see the Marlins balking at the idea of paying Ozzie Guillen, Redmond, and their replacement.