It’s not often we see a baseball move that is truly out of the ordinary, but the Marlins gave us one yesterday. While moving Dan Jennings from the GM role to that of manager is not without precedent, it is nonetheless quite unusual, and his lack of significant professional experience as a professional coach or player certainly sets it further apart.
We heard plenty of opinions on the subject yesterday, many of them focused on the jarring nature of the decision, others very nearly questioning the sanity and/or professionalism of owner Jeffrey Loria.
Needless to say, on balance, the reaction has been strongly negative. A variety of factors have been cited as setting Jennings up for failure, in spite of his good personal reputation around the game.
As I noted in the above-linked post, however, the hiring of Jennings is, if nothing else, rather interesting. The Marlins front office will, in a very real sense, be a part of the team (as distinguished from the organization) on a day-to-day basis, sharing in the ups and downs along with the players. Far from a suit in a private suite, the former GM (who’ll still have a heavy role in player personnel) will be in uniform, in the dugout, on the road, staring down the microphones of the press. Of course, he’ll also be a constant reminder that ballplayers — most of them, anyway — are constantly playing for their jobs.
Loria has struck gold with mid-season managerial changes before. For a team that hoped for much better than its 16-23 start to the season, might this be a worthwhile experiment? Let’s see what the MLBTR readers think: