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.