5:44pm: The Marlins have announced that Jennings has been relieved of his duties. Miami won’t hire a replacement, but will instead shift his former responsibilities over to Hill while also increasing Berger’s role.
Jackson also provides more detail on the split, writing that Jennings wanted to stay on as manager but was told he’d instead be offered a return to the GM role. The then-skipper and owner Jeffrey Loria had butted heads over how he was running the club, says Jackson, “including whether to play Marcell Ozuna.”
Per the report, Jennings was preparing to report back to the organization on October 19 when he was told instead to stay home. Club president David Samson advised Jennings that he’d first need to talk things over with Loria — a conversation which seemingly never occurred.
Samson issued the following statement in a team press release:
“We want to thank Dan for his dedication and loyal service to the Marlins organization over the last 13 years. This is the continuation of the restructuring of our baseball operations department and we look forward to moving in a unified direction to reach our goal of becoming a championship-caliber ballclub that our fans richly deserve.”
5:06pm: The Marlins have decided to “dismiss” now-former general manager and manager Dan Jennings, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. Jennings, of course, was still under contract for three more seasons, meaning that Miami will likely remain on the hook for the $5.6MM left on his contract (though it could be offset when he’s hired elsewhere).
Jennings, 55, has been with the Miami organization since 2002. He served as the club’s general manager — working alongside president of baseball operations Michael Hill — from 2013 through the middle of 2015. After the team fired manager Mike Redmond in May, Jennings moved into the skipper’s seat in an eyebrow-raising move that didn’t pan out.
Though Jennings wasn’t able to turn around a disappointing club that he had a major hand in compiling, he is said to have managed to earn the trust of his players in spite of the odd situation. And while the Fish weren’t able to match their (arguably unreasonable) expectations, Jennings remains a highly-respected executive. Indeed, Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes on Twitter that Jennings has already drawn interest from other teams looking for assistant general managers.
While the move is somewhat surprising, given Jennings’s deep ties to the Miami organization and owner Jeffrey Loria, Nightengale adds that Jennings was hoping to be released from his obligations to pursue new opportunities. It appeared that his front office standing may have been marginalized while he was in the dugout, with the club having handed off some of his duties to VP and assistant GM Mike Berger. Club president David Samson said just weeks ago that Jennings was still the general manager, but it seemed even at that time that there was a lot to be worked out for the relationship to continue.
During his time in the GM chair, Jennings played a key role in a number of big moves. Most notably, perhaps, the club extended outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, with the former receiving a record $325MM guarantee.