Girardi On the Outs in Florida

The Marlins’ front office appears to be feeding negative info to the press in an attempt to tarnish his reputation before he’s ultimately fired after the season.  The latest is a leak of a series of moves Girardi wanted to make. From David Hyde this morning:

"For instance, back in spring training, according to two Marlins sources, here’s some changes Girardi pushed for: Miguel Cabrera from third to first base; Dan Uggla not at second base but in left field; Josh Willingham at catcher, not Miguel Olivo; Alfredo Amezaga might not have made the team; and young pitchers like Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson would have started in the minor leagues."

According to Buster Olney, that kind of info could only have come from a front office leak.  If so, they’re doing a pretty poor job of taking Girardi down a peg.  Remember, it was Marlins’ upper management that screwed Girardi over by conducting an unexpected fire sale after his hiring.  He thought he signed on to manage a contender; he got 25 kids.  I didn’t hear much complaining.

Hindsight is 20/20, and those decisions did not look disastrous before the season began.  Is it really a bad thing to move Cabrera a bit further down the defensive spectrum?  He’s not Scott Rolen, either for defensive skills or effort. 

And the left field situation was a mess before the season began.  The Fish had Jeremy Hermida in right and open auditions for the rest of the outfield.  Whether Willingham could even handle left capably was a complete unknown.  And personally, I still like the idea of Willingham at catcher.  He’s hitting .265/.341/.470 this year.  That’s top-notch for a backstop, and average for a left fielder. Miguel Olivo has worked out behind the plate, but that doesn’t make Girardi a bad manager for considering other options. 

Alfredo Amezaga?  Who cares?  He’s versatile, but he’s 28 and hitting .266/.337/.345. 

It’s just plain unfair to suggest that starting Nolasco and Johnson in the minors would’ve been a bad decision.  Nolasco had shown zero ability to get out Triple A hitters.  Johnson skipped Triple A.  There’s nothing wrong with skipping that level, but it’s not bad for a player’s development to try it when he’s been less than dominant at Double A.

Girardi’s done a capable job managing a ridiculously inexperienced team.  He’s not entirely responsible for their success, but a ton of young guys have come along nicely under his watch.  That’s a feather in his cap.  I’d love to see the Cubs hire him.

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