Mike Redmond Rumors

NL Notes: Olivera, Dodgers, Brewers, Marlins

The Dodgers made a big splash last month with two successive signings of Cuban free agents: infielder Hector Olivera ($62.5MM) and righty Pablo Fernandez ($8MM). But as J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group reports, both players still have yet to receive their visas — and, as a result, have not undergone physicals. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman explained that the club could have elected to perform physicals in the Dominican Republic, where Olivera and Fernandez are both residing. But the Dodgers prefer to wait to allow team doctors a personal inspection. All said, it does not appear that there is any reason to doubt that the agreed-upon terms will ultimately be formalized. In the case of Olivera, however, questions about elbow health were an issue that was reportedly addressed in the contract itself, and his past medical difficulties (along with the significant guarantee) raise the stakes of the physical.

  • Meanwhile, the Dodgers have managed to pull together quite a productive bullpen this year at rather a low cost, as Dave Cameron explains in a piece for FOX Sports. The club has continued to tinker with that unit, claiming and designating a pair of arms and then dealing for Xavier Cedeno earlier today. Friedman explains that the club is building depth and expects to add Cedeno to the active roster (via Hoornstra’s Tout feed).
  • Brewers owner Mark Attanasio says that he is “not looking at the manager or the general manager right now” as the club looks to turn around an awful start, as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports. Attanasio placed the blame on the fact that many of the club’s players are not matching their career standards. He also defended the organization’s decision to keep its core together and try to compete in 2015, saying that it performed “a huge amount of analysis” in making that call.
  • If the Marlins do make a change at manager, Mets Triple-A skipper Wally Backman is not a candidate, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Miami owner Jeffrey Loria is “actively reviewing” the situation of Mike Redmond as the team tries to shake off a rusty start. Over at Fangraphs, Jeff Sullivan argues that, though the club’s awful opening is obviously disappointing, the expectations never should have been very high at the start of 2015.

NL East Notes: Redmond, Backman, Feigl, Cosart

Given the opportunity to provide a vote of confidence in manager Mike Redmond yesterday, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria passed on the opportunity to do so, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Loria and GM Dan Jennings briefly met with Redmond in his office and, upon leaving, Loria was asked about Redmond’s job security. The owner replied: “I’ve got one thing to say: I’m not interested in palace intrigue. We’ve got games to win — period. (The speculation) doesn’t have anything to do with anything.” Crasnick also spoke to Redmond, who said he’s as disappointed with the poor start as anyone else, if not more so. “I can’t control the stuff that people write,” said Redmond. “All I can do is come out and be consistent. I think I’ve showed that the last couple of years. I think the guys know where I’m coming from. We’ve got to win some ballgames. That’s the way it is.”

More news from the AL East…

  • Mike Puma of the New York Post hears from a source that Loria recently quizzed people who know Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman to see if Backman would make a good big league manager. The Miami Herald’s recent report that Redmond was on the hot seat also noted that Backman would be a consideration as an alternative, though Backman himself has expressed surprise at his connection to the Marlins, and GM Sandy Alderson has said he’s yet to be asked to interview Backman.
  • Braves left-hander Brady Feigl underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday, the pitcher himself tweeted. The 24-year-old Feigl almost made the team out of Spring Training following an excellent showing in which he yielded one run on seven hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Signed as an undrafted free agent, Feigl enjoyed a very strong year with the Braves’ Class-A affiliates in 2014, posting a 3.08 ERA with 60 strikeouts against 13 walks in 65 2/3 innings. Feigl adds to a rash of Tommy John operations that has plagued the Braves, who have seen Brandon Beachy (now with the Dodgers), Kris Medlen (now with the Royals) and Shae Simmons all undergo the procedure in the past 13 months.
  • Marlins righty Jarred Cosart tells Paul Hudrick of CSNPhilly.com that it would be “pretty cool to beat the Phillies,” the team that originally drafted him but traded him to Houston as part of a package for Hunter Pence. Cosart doesn’t hold any ill will toward the Phillies and in fact spoke fondly of the four years he spent with the team. Regarding the decision to trade him, he said he understood the decision and appreciated GM Ruben Amaro Jr.’s candor. “I talked to Ruben on the phone,” Cosart recalls. “He said, ‘We’re trying to win a World Series now and Hunter Pence is a guy we think that can help us, so we’re trading you to Houston.'” Cosart would again be traded last summer, this time heading to the Marlins in a trade that sent Jake Marisnick, Colin Moran and a 2015 Competitive Balance pick to the Astros. Cosart will face the Phillies in Philadelphia tonight.

How Common Are Early-Season Manager Firings?

Already, in late April, there are rumors surrounding Marlins manager Mike Redmond, whose job could be in jeopardy after the team’s 3-10 start. April sounds awfully early in the season to fire a manager, and in fact it is — in the past ten seasons, there have been no manager firings in the month of April. There have been plenty of firings in the first halves of seasons, however. Here’s a look at the nine firings in the past decade that took place before a team had finished 81 games in a season, and a brief glimpse at what happened in the next few years after each dismissal. As we’ll see, the outcomes of these firings run the gamut of possible outcomes, making it difficult to say whether replacing a manager early in a given season is a good idea.

  • The Reds fired Dave Miley on June 21, 2005, replacing him with Jerry Narron. Narron lasted barely two seasons and was replaced by Dusty Baker, who had two sub-.500 seasons before leading the Reds to three seasons of 90 or more wins in his next four.
  • The Mariners fired John McLaren on June 19, 2008 after a 25-47 start. After Jim Riggleman finished out the season, the Mariners turned to Don Wakamatsu and Eric Wedge, neither of whom had success, before finally turning to Lloyd McClendon, who had a good first season in 2014.
  • The Rockies fired Clint Hurdle on May 29, 2009 after they got off to an 18-28 start. Jim Tracy took over and the Rockies went 74-42 the rest of the way, making the playoffs.
  • The Diamondbacks fired Bob Melvin on June 8, 2009, replacing him with A.J. Hinch, who managed the team for less than a season and a half before being fired himself.
  • The Royals fired Trey Hillman on May 13, 2010 after a 12-23 start, replacing him with Ned Yost. Yost’s tactical managing gives fans fits, and his first two-plus seasons with the Royals were unsuccessful, but the team has played exceptionally well since then.
  • The Orioles fired Dave Trembley on June 4, 2010. The team struggled for about two months with interim manager Juan Samuel at the helm, but performed well for the last two months of the season under Buck Showalter, whose hiring has so far been a boon for the franchise.
  • The Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez on June 23, 2010, replacing him with Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez posted a .500 record the rest of the season, but he resigned during the 2011 season as the team struggled.
  • The Diamondbacks fired Hinch on July 1, 2010, replacing him with Kirk Gibson. The D-backs had a 94-win season in 2011, but after two .500 seasons and a poor 2014, they fired Gibson, too.
  • The Athletics fired Bob Geren on June 9, 2011, replacing him with Melvin. The team continued to struggle down the stretch in 2011 but has made the playoffs in three straight seasons since.

The Rockies’ swap of Clint Hurdle for Jim Tracy in 2009 (along with the Marlins’ own Jeff Torborg/Jack McKeon switch in their World Series-winning 2003 campaign) is exactly what a team hopes for when it fires a manager early in the season. The Rockies turned their season around under Tracy and made the playoffs after an amazing stretch run.

But the Hurdle/Tracy swap could also be read as evidence of how difficult it can be to identify or predict a manager’s effect on a team. Tracy had previously managed the Pirates, but was fired after two ugly seasons. He lasted only three more years in Colorado. Meanwhile, Hurdle ultimately took over in Pittsburgh and led the team to its first two winning seasons in two decades, earning praise for his leadership and his integration of sabermetrics into the Pirates’ day-to-day strategy. Perhaps Tracy really was the right manager for the Rockies in 2009, and Hurdle the wrong one. A manager’s job is to lead, and his ability to lead the ever-changing cast of players around him is surely somewhat fluid. But a team’s performance is informed by any number of factors that have little to do with its manager.

With that in mind, it’s difficult to draw conclusions from the list above. Some teams’ manager swaps appear to have worked well, like that of the Rockies, or the Athletics’ switch of Geren and Melvin. Others didn’t, although that’s not surprising, given that teams who fire their managers tend not to be the best ones.

Perhaps there’s a distinction between firings in April and firings in June and July. In April, it’s hard to be completely out of the race, but in June, it isn’t, and maybe it makes sense for a team to make big changes rather than having a lame-duck manager limp through the rest of the season. There’s also the problem of how best to hire a permanent manager while a season is going on. Many teams on the list above turned to interim managers after firings, and surely that’s not what the Marlins would do if they fired Redmond. It probably isn’t easy to hire a permanent manager in-season. Of the teams on the list above, only two, the Royals (Yost) and the Athletics (Melvin), immediately replaced their outgoing managers with managers who turned out to be real long-term replacements.

Then there’s the lack of stability an early-season firing can betray. As FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal points out, the Marlins’ struggles are due in part to pitchers’ injuries and to Mat Latos‘ ineffectiveness. Those problems have little to do with Redmond, and replacing him would probably do nothing to solve them. Perhaps Redmond isn’t the right manager for the Marlins, but what might be most striking about the list above is the absence of many  successful franchises who seem to highly value organizational stability, like the Cardinals, Giants and Tigers. Of course, it’s surely true that those franchises are mostly stable in part because they’re successful, and not the way around. And there are other franchises who are generally stable, like the Rockies and Twins, who haven’t done well lately. But the Marlins have had five managers since 2010 (Gonzalez, Rodriguez, McKeon, Ozzie Guillen and Redmond). One wonders how difficult it must be for players to develop given that many changes of leadership.



East Notes: Marlins, Stammen, Francis

Marlins manager Mike Redmond is rumored to be on the hot seat, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that the team doesn’t need a new manager, just better starting pitching. Marlins starters have a 5.23 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9, and they’re reeling from the loss of Henderson Alvarez with a shoulder injury. Still, the Marlins have enough talent to rebound from their 3-10 start, Frisaro says. Here are more quick notes from the East divisions.

  • Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen had surgery Sunday to fix two torn flexor tendons in his forearm, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. He is likely to miss the rest of the season and will be able to return for Spring Training next year. In the last three seasons, Stammen has been a workhorse in the Nats’ bullpen, pitching 242 2/3 innings in that span. He’ll make $2.25MM in 2015 and is arbitration eligible next winter for the last time before free agency.
  • Jeff Francis is back in the big leagues with the Blue Jays, and he’s hoping to stick around even though he knows it might be tough to do so, John Lott of the National Post writes. The former Rockies starter pitched 3 1/3 innings Sunday, but he’s 34 and throws in the upper 80s. He’s now pitching for his fourth team since the start of the 214 season, having appeared with the Reds, Athletics and Yankees last year. Francis, who is from Canada, calls playing for his favorite childhood team a “thrill” but says it’s one he’ll mostly enjoy after he’s done playing.

Mike Redmond Could Be On Hot Seat

APRIL 20: Redmond’s fate could be the first test of Loria’s patience with his new front office, notes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Loria has said that he’s much more comfortable with his restructured front office, and sources tell Rosenthal that neither GM Dan Jennings or president of baseball ops Michael Hill wants Redmond fired.

APRIL 19, 10:33pm: A Marlins official denies that the team is considering firing Redmond, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets.

9:26pm: Marlins manager Mike Redmond could be in danger of being fired, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes. According to Spencer’s sources, the Marlins have already considered firing Redmond, and have even considered potential replacements (with Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman as one possibility).

Redmond is in his third season as Marlins manager. He is 142-194 as the Marlins’ manager, although the Marlins were rebuilding much of that time and performed somewhat unexpectedly well last season, finishing 77-85 despite the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery. Late last season, the Marlins extended Redmond’s contract through 2017.

After an offseason makeover that included the additions of Mat Latos, Martin Prado, Dee Gordon, Mike Morse, Dan Haren and Ichiro Suzuki as well as big new contracts for Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, however, the Marlins are 3-10 and seven games out of first place in the NL East. Of course, the season is only 13 games old, but as Spencer notes, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has frequently been quick to make managerial changes and has also fired managers in-season (including Jeff Torborg in 2003 and Fredi Gonzalez in 2010). Stanton said Friday that the Marlins lacked “fire,” and Spencer suggests that, while Stanton’s comments weren’t intended as a criticism of Redmond, they could help convince Loria to view Redmond’s laid-back style as a problem.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Redmond, Cubs, Harvey, O’s, White Sox

It would be foolhardy for the Marlins to fire manager Mike Redmond this early in the season, opines FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal in his latest notes column. Redmond is well-respected among the industry, Rosenthal notes, and he cannot be blamed for the fact that Henderson Alvarez is injured and Mat Latos has struggled so greatly. (Latos’ diminished velocity is likely a significant culprit in that regard.) Rosenthal writes that owner Jeffrey Loria needs to realize that the unstable culture he creates by cycling through managers so willingly is part of the problem in Miami.

A few more notes from Rosenthal’s latest column…

  • In the video atop his column, Rosenthal notes that Cubs top prospect Addison Russell has begun playing some second base and may eventually get a look there in the Majors. However, because he is their best defensive shortstop, Russell may eventually push Starlin Castro to third base and Kris Bryant to the outfield, or his arrival may lead to a trade of Castro.
  • Rosenthal writes about former Mets GM Omar Minaya’s decision to draft Matt Harvey with the seventh pick in the 2010 draft. The team had been deciding between Harvey and Chris Sale, but the Mets, like many other clubs, had some reservations about whether or not Sale would last as a starter. Minaya became convinced of Harvey after watching him in an April start at the University of Miami, though as Rosenthal notes, others in the front office/scouting department, including Marlin McPhail, Rudy Terrasas and Bryan Lambe all played large roles as well. Interestingly, Rosenthal adds that the White Sox were thrilled to get Chris Sale at No. 13, as they feared the Royals would select him fifth overall. Kansas City instead selected Cal State Fulelrton infielder Christian Colon.
  • Delmon Young told the Orioles that he wanted to regain some of his lost athleticism, and so the team had him work extensively with outfielder-turned-executive Brady Anderson in Spring Training. Young was the first to the clubhouse every day during Spring Training and is now has the fastest 10-yard dash time on the Orioles, per manager Buck Showalter. Rosenthal also notes that Everth Cabrera told the O’s that he knew advanced metrics pegged him as a below-average defender, and he expressed an interest in improving in that area. Baltimore is working with Cabrera to correct a tendency to retreat with his hands and “baby” the ball, as Rosenthal put it.
  • The White Sox weren’t as successful in upgrading their catching position as they’d have liked, but for the time being, they’re content with Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto. Rosenthal notes that while Welington Castillo is widely believed to be available, the Sox and Cubs rarely make trades.

Rule 5 Draft Spring Update

It may seem early, but there is less than a month before teams will need to set their final rosters for the start of the season. We often hear about players with opportunities to win jobs, and that is never more true than in the cases of Rule 5 picks, whose new teams have a unique incentive to keep them to start the year. Last year, for instance, three teams kept players on the roster all year and earned their rights going forward: the White Sox (Adrian Nieto), Rockies (Tommy Kahnle), and Brewers (Wei-Chung Wang). Click here for complete 2014 results.

With that in mind, let’s see how things are shaping up for some of this year’s selections:

  • First overall choice Oscar Hernandez still appears to be on track to get a chance as the Diamondbacks‘ backup, as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports“There are some things to work out,” said manager Chip Hale. “We’re up for the challenge and I think he is, too.”
  • Slugger Mark Canha started out ahead of Nate Freiman in the competition for a roster spot given his Rule 5 status, manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently (Twitter link). An unfortunate back injury to Freiman only increases Canha’s edge, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports. (It probably does not hurt, either, that Canha is off to a four-for-six start at the plate.)
  • Righty Jason Garcia has impressed the Orioles thus far with a smooth delivery and easy velocity, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry recently reported. Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons tweets that the preliminary word is that the O’s are looking for ways to fit him on the roster.
  • Right-hander J.R. Graham is making an impression with the Twins, as Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports. Graham worked consistently up to 96 mph in two scoreless innings in his first outing, though he did struggle with command in his first frame. “I’m sure he was a little amped up being a Rule 5 guy,” said skipper Paul Molitor. “But he’s got some velocity. It was good to see him get through two clean innings.”
  • An early look at right-hander Jandel Gustave and his high-octane stuff had the Royals contemplating an eight-man pen to fit him on the roster, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reported a few weeks back. Gustave has a history of command issues, however, and was roughed up pretty badly in his first outing — though he allowed only one baserunner in his most recent chance.
  • The Phillies have two Rule 5 picks in converted outfielder Odubel Herrera and lefty Andy Oliver, and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com recently looked at both players. Herrera is already showing off his tools and would create some valuable flexibility for the team now and in the future, Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley explains.
  • Marlins manager Mike Redmond was among those impressed with the first live action from lefty Andrew McKirahan, as Juan Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel writes. McKirahan’s odds increased when the Fish failed to land Phil Coke, though it still seems he’ll have to overcome out-of-options lefty Brad Hand to join Mike Dunn in the bullpen.
  • Mets skipper Terry Collins has indicated that prospect Rafael Montero is a long-shot to be added to the pen if fellow starter Dillon Gee ends up there, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets. DiComo noted then that, should Gee in fact work in relief — which seems rather likely — Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin would appear to have an inside track to a pen slot.
  • This is not an update, but more a reminder. Braves‘ selection Daniel Winkler is coming off of Tommy John surgery and therefore has quite a unique situation, as J.J. Cooper of Baseball America explains.

Marlins Extend Mike Redmond Through 2017

The Marlins have agreed to a contract extension with manager Mike Redmond through the 2017 season, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel. The Marlins also tweeted the entire coaching staff will return in 2015.

The Marlins remained competitive despite season-ending injuries to franchise cornerstones Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, a fact not lost on the front office.

It speaks volumes of the job they did, just with the perseverance,” President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill told reporters (including MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro) prior to the announcement. “They’ve taken every blow they were given and kept on moving. I think that’s definitely a credit to the manager, and his staff, and the players in that clubhouse.”

Marlins President David Samson told reporters, including Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the extension was finalized prior to today’s season finale against the Nationals.

On this last day of the season, it’s the perfect way to start this offseason, making sure everyone realizes…our commitment to Red,” Samson said. “We knew we were bringing him into a situation where he was going to grow with the team and we’ve watched that happen. The team and Mike have grown in lockstep.

The Marlins are 139-188 under Redmond, who just completed the second season of his original three-year contract.


Marlins Hire Mike Redmond

The Marlins hired Mike Redmond to be their next manager, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter links). Redmond, a former MLB catcher, spent seven years of his playing career with the Marlins. The 41-year-old obtains a three-year deal to replace Ozzie Guillen in Miami as the Marlins look to rebound from a disappointing 2012 season.

Redmond managed the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League from 2011-12. The team finished 77-60 in 2011 and went 78-55 this past season. Redmond's 13-year playing career ended just two years ago, in 2010. He played for the Marlins, Twins and Indians, and was Ivan Rodriguez's backup on the 2003 Marlins team that won the World Series. As Jeff Passan explained last year, Redmond has some unconventional methods for breaking out of slumps.

Former player and manager Larry Bowa and Reds pitching coach Bryan Price were also candidates for the position. The Blue Jays and Rockies are now the only teams seeking managers.


Managerial Notes: Blue Jays, Marlins, Rockies

Three teams are seeking managers now that the Marlins have officially dismissed Ozzie Guillen. Here’s the latest with the most recent updates up top…

  • Mike Redmond will interview with the Marlins for their managerial opening tonight, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel reports (on Twitter). Redmond and Bryan Price are in the running for the job, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported last night. Redmond, a minor league manager for the Blue Jays, appears to be an early favorite for the position, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes.
  • Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr hasn't been contacted by the Blue Jays about their vacancy, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Blue Jays are still in information gathering mode, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Sandy Alomar Jr.Tim Wallach and DeMarlo Hale are among the names in play.
  • The role of the manager has changed with the increased use of social media, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Outspoken skippers like Guillen and Bobby Valentine risk alienating their players in today’s media environment.
  • Jason Giambi blew the Rockies away in his interview for the team’s managerial opening, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. The veteran power hitter left no doubt about his preparation and desire to get the job. Wallach, Alomar, Mike Gallego and Brad Ausmus are among the external candidates the Rockies are expected to contact, according to Renck.
  • President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said the Marlins will consider candidates without previous experience managing at the MLB level, Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports. Valentine is not a candidate and former Marlins Mike Lowell and Jeff Conine have indicated they aren't seeking MLB managing jobs.