New Marlins manager’s biggest critic might be Mom
Miami — Even the mother of the new Marlins manager is questioning the wisdom of the choice.
Marlins general manager Dan Jennings was selected Monday to replace Mike Redmond in the dugout. Jennings has 31 years experience in pro baseball, but never played in the majors and never has managed.
“It is outside the box, I will not deny that,” Jennings said at a news conference. “My mom, whom I love deeply, asked me, ‘Are you crazy? Have you lost your mind?’ ”
Redmond, in his third season, was fired Sunday after the Marlins were nearly no-hit in a 6-0 loss to the Braves that completed a three-game sweep. The defeat dropped Miami to 16-22, but team president David Samson said a change had been in the works since the Marlins started 3-11.
Jennings’ first game was Monday night at home against Arizona.
The shake-up was the latest orchestrated by owner Jeffrey Loria, reinforcing his reputation for impatience. Jennings is Loria’s sixth manager since June 2010.
“Jeffrey Loria makes me laugh!” former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones tweeted.
No other candidates were considered, Samson said, in part because the Marlins have gone through so many managers already.
“There’s nowhere else to look anymore,” Samson conceded. “We’re running out.”
The Marlins consulted with commissioner Rob Manfred and complied with Major League Baseball’s minority hiring requirements, Samson said.
Former players have become first-time managers in the majors, but the move from the front office to the dugout is unusual. According to Baseball Reference, Jennings is the first major league skipper with no experience as a manager or big league player since Braves owner Ted Turner managed his team for one game in 1977.
Jennings’ only coaching experience was in high school in Mobile, Alabama, in the 1980s.
“There are going to be cynics,” he said. “There are a lot of managers who arrive in that chair via a different path. We now have a new path.”
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said he’s optimistic Jennings will do well despite his lack of managing experience.
“We wanted a leader,” Hill said. “We wanted a motivator. We wanted someone knowledgeable in the game. There’s no better person I can think of. There’s no one who knew our players better than DJ.”
Jennings said he hesitated before agreeing to change jobs, and stipulated he wanted Mike Goff as his bench coach. Goff, who had been an advance scout, was a coach for the Mariners in 2005-2007. He replaces Rob Leary.
Jennings, who was in his second season as general manager, has been with the Marlins on the personnel side since 2002. The Alabama native had a brief tryout as a pitcher in the Yankees organization, and then paid his dues by driving up to 50,000 miles on his car every year while scouting 300 games before he joined the Marlins.