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Source: Girardi Not Coming Back


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Marlins' Girardi not coming back, source says

 

By Mike Berardino

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted September 22 2006, 1:09 AM EDT

 

 

Joe Girardi, who guided the surprising Marlins into playoff contention despite baseball's lowest payroll, will soon be out as manager after just one season.

 

On a scale of 1 to 10, Girardi's chances of returning next year are "zero," according to a source who has spoken with the Marlins' front office.

 

"I don't think there is any chance," the source said.

 

With two years left on his contract, Girardi would be owed an estimated $1.5 million if no other club picks him up. The Cubs, expected to fire Dusty Baker, have been mentioned as a possible destination.

 

The Marlins are already compiling information about Girardi's successor, with a trio of third-base coaches likely to receive interviews: Fredi Gonzalez (Braves), Joey Cora (White Sox) and Manny Acta (Mets).

 

All three have Latin roots and speak fluent Spanish, which would be considered a significant upgrade from the current English-only staff. Gonzalez, who spent a decade with the Marlins as a minor league manager and major league coach, was the runner-up to Girardi after interviewing last fall.

 

Other possible candidates to replace Girardi include Triple-A Albuquerque manager Dean Treanor, Japanese League manager Trey Hillman, Braves special assistant Jim Fregosi, Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, Mets bench coach Jerry Manuel and Marlins broadcaster Cookie Rojas, although Rojas is more likely to fill a coaching role.

 

The last straw for Girardi, 41, apparently was his ill-fated decision to bring back prized right-hander Josh Johnson after an 82-minute rain delay at Dolphin Stadium on Sept. 12.

 

"Not one of the smarter moves of the year," said the source, adding the Marlins' decision makers were "shocked" Johnson returned to the mound that night.

 

With the Marlins still clinging to wild-card hopes, Johnson tried to stay loose by playing catch with Dontrelle Willis in an indoor batting cage. That Johnson left four innings later with cramping in his forearm and was subsequently shut down for the year with a strained ligament did not help Girardi's case.

 

Sunday's 10th-inning meltdown in Atlanta was another strike against Girardi, who had never managed at any level before this season. Marlins management was disappointed Girardi inserted little-used center fielder Reggie Abercrombie as a defensive replacement instead of the more polished Eric Reed.

 

Two Abercrombie misplays opened the door for the Braves to rally from a four-run deficit to hand the Marlins a crushing 8-7 defeat that essentially ended their playoff chances.

 

Nor has it helped that Girardi's tense relations with Marlins management have not improved. The rookie manager and General Manager Admin Beinfest "barely speak" and have "no relationship at all," the source said.

 

Although Beinfest recently said Girardi and his staff deserved "a lot of credit" for the team's turnaround, he stopped short of an outright endorsement. Unlike most GMs, Beinfest is rarely seen in the manager's office anymore.

 

Marlins President David Samson appeared this week on ESPN and said the team would evaluate Girardi at the end of the season, but the source said that process already has been completed.

 

There also has been talk of frosty relations between Girardi and first base coach Perry Hill, a holdover from former manager Jack McKeon's staff and a longtime favorite of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. Hill left the Marlins this week for the fourth time this season because of a family medical problem.

 

At odds with Loria and the rest of the front office almost from the time he was hired last October, Girardi was nearly fired on Aug. 6 after a home loss to the Dodgers. That was the steamy afternoon when Girardi and bench coach Gary Tuck yelled at Loria to stop criticizing umpire Admin Vanover from his field-level seat, witnesses said.

 

According to reports, Girardi later apologized to Loria in front of the team, but the manager and owner have been unable to bridge the gulf between them.

 

"His introverted behavior and lack of people skills have caused most of the problems," the source said of Girardi, who spent one season as Yankees bench coach after a 15-year playing career. "Both sides are at fault."

 

Sources also told the Sun-Sentinel in the past month that Girardi and the front office have clashed over numerous personnel decisions, including where to play Miguel Cabrera, Dan Uggla and Josh Willingham and whether to use Johnson and Ricky Nolasco as starters or relievers.

 

Nonetheless, Girardi is widely considered a strong candidate for National League Manager of the Year after guiding a team with 22 rookies and a $15 million payroll into playoff contention. Not since Davey Johnson bolted the Orioles after 1997 has a newly named Manager of the Year failed to return the following year.

 

It's happened only one other time since the award was instituted 23 years ago. Bobby Cox, named the American League's top manager in 1985, left the Blue Jays to return to the Braves as general manager.

 

Loria is said to have a good relationship with Fregosi, 64, who hasn't managed since the Blue Jays fired him after the 2000 season.

 

Hillman, 43, has spent the past four seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, who were leading the Pacific League. He previously worked in the Yankees and Rangers organizations.

 

Lou Piniella, who left the Devil Rays a year ago, might prove too costly, especially with the Cubs and possibly the Phillies expected to pursue his services.

 

Mike Berardino can be reached at [email protected]

 

Copyright ? 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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manger of the year and go to the windy city where he is respected i know lots of chicago peeps that want him bad welcome to the big time where the market is 10 times what fla. offers ..sorry but its the truth and the fans will embrace him

 

 

And you said what moments before Dusty Baker was hired?

 

Exactly.

 

And think about this. Why is it that no other manager is getting credit for their team being a winner other than Girardi? So if Joe was in KC they'd be on the heels of the A's? If he was took the Tampa Bay job would they be in the mix? Joe Girardi did a great job shaping this team and creating a work ethic that matched his own. But Joe Girardi as a game-day manager is quite bad. He may improve, he is a rookie. But unless he learns to respect authority (Loria) and ability (Beinfest/scouts) he is doomed to run into similar problems in Chicago or anywhere he ends up. The same man that thinks its okay to grab a player by the collar cannot be the same man that thinks its okay to tell your boss to shut the F up. Can't have it both ways Joe.

 

Oh, 10X the Florida Market? You must mean South Florida. So Chicago has 40MM people? If you meant attendance, it's 3X. If Girardi didn't like one man yelling at him along the dugout, just wait until Wrigley's 39K let him know on a daily basis what they think.

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For once, Dave Hyde writes a column that makes a lot of sense:

 

HYDE: Firing unfair but necessary for everyone

Published September 22, 2006

 

 

Joe Girardi's firing will be silly, nasty, unseemly, unfair, costly for a franchise that picks up pennies off the ground and sure to blow up on the Marlins like an exploding cigar when he's picked as Manager of the Year.

 

It's also something which trumps all that.

 

It's irrelevant to whether they win next year.

 

The firing is even necessary for both sides considering the Marlins' ship is smartly steered by General Manager Admin Beinfest, who has about as much of a working relationship with Girardi as sun does with snow.

 

Maybe you'd like to say this isn't so. Maybe you'd like to take Girardi's side in all this. And, it's true, all the rookie manager has done is help the Marlins to a surprising season and handle himself graciously in public even as team owner Jeffrey Loria has treated any mention of him like a boxing workout on a heavy bag.

 

Recently, even the Marlins-hired TV and radio announcers joined the party line, hitting Girardi with every silly second guess ("Why wasn't Eric Reed in as a defensive replacement?" "Why did he go to that reliever?") like it was some sort of public service.

 

Girardi took every hit and said nothing to the world. You should know his side gave plenty in private, though. Too much, actually. For instance, in the infamous August squabble that began with Loria shouting from his field-side seat about the umpiring, it wasn't Girardi's reaction that made Loria erupt, a Marlins witness said.

 

Yes, Loria was upset when Girardi asked him from the dugout not to yell at the umpires. But it was Girardi's bench lieutenant, Gary Tuck, that sent the situation into orbit and caused all the clubhouse commotion afterward.

 

"If you don't f------ like it, get someone else," Tuck shouted from the dugout to Loria.

 

Who talks to their boss like that, much less their boss's boss?

 

That snippet tells plenty about how this marriage has never been the Lucy and Ricky of baseball. Girardi backed up Tuck in the yelling afterward. And Loria probably sided once and for all with Beinfest that day.

 

It all seems so silly considering the season that played out. The Marlins surprised everyone. Shouldn't that be good enough for everyone?

 

Nope. Both sides have egos. And Girardi wants to control everything in a franchise where Beinfest and his scouting department run the show. So this really was a divorce waiting to happen from the day pitchers and catchers reported.

 

Knowing this, why did Beinfest hire Girardi in the first place? Simple answer: He didn't. Loria hired Girardi without so much as consulting Beinfest. And that's something you can bet will be a lesson learned here.

 

The players will be angry over Girardi's firing. You'd hope so, too. He worked, played, bonded and surprised with them over this season. But let's not get too carried away here. Marlins veterans were upset when popular Jeff Torborg was fired in 2003 and curmudgeonly Jack McKeon replaced him. How'd that one work out?

 

This gets back to the bigger issue here. Managers shouldn't be overvalued in baseball. Do you need some chapter and verse? Dusty Baker supposedly was smart with Barry Bonds in San Francisco and is now dumb with a hurt Mark Prior and Kerry Wood in Chicago.

 

The loss of Jim Tracy was going to ruin the Los Angeles Dodgers this year and be a boon to Pittsburgh. Only the Dodgers still win and the Pirates still lose.

 

You can play this game every year in baseball and any season. Do you really think Joe Torre got anything more than the richest lineup in baseball when he went to the New York Yankees with his losing managerial record and started winning titles?

 

Here's all the Marlins have to do: Not hire the wrong guy. There would be bad fits here. McKeon, bless him, would be awful on a young team like this just as Jim Leyland was awful on the '98 Marlins.

 

But if these young pitchers stay healthy, if Miguel Cabrera stays lethal, if Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla and Josh Willingham have similar years and -- here are the big offseason questions -- if the Marlins find a center-fielder and an improved relief corps, they'll be better next year.

 

And Girardi? Maybe he's Manager of the Year. That's one Loria and Beinfest will have a hard time living down nationally. Maybe he gets his dream job with the Chicago Cubs this offseason, too. After all, Baker is a dunce now.

 

As it is, wish him bon voyage. Both sides are better off for their parting at season's end. What's more, the next Marlins' season shouldn't be any worse off.

 

Dave Hyde can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

He is absolutely right. This is the best thing for both parties.

 

As for a repacement, I think that the Fredi Gonzalez will get a long look. He has a ton of coaching experience and is well respected. I just wonder if the team wants to hire another rookie manager.

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Among the list mentioned I think it comes down to three candidates.

 

Fredi Gonzalez - Fredi knows the organization, the management, the division, the South Florida area. He deserves a shot but I wonder if he has any hard feelings not getting the nod over Girardi.

 

Manny Acta - He worked for Loria & co. in Montreal. His name has floated as a solid managerial candidate and he has managed everywhere...except in the majors.

 

Jerry Manuel - Has managed and won (.515 winning %). Youthful, yet experienced and also familiar with the area.

 

My prediction among these names would be: Jerry Manuel.

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The last straw for Girardi, 41, apparently was his ill-fated decision to bring back prized right-hander Josh Johnson after an 82-minute rain delay at Dolphin Stadium on Sept. 12.

 

"Not one of the smarter moves of the year," said the source, adding the Marlins' decision makers were "shocked" Johnson returned to the mound that night.

 

That's saying something.

 

Sunday's 10th-inning meltdown in Atlanta was another strike against Girardi, who had never managed at any level before this season. Marlins management was disappointed Girardi inserted little-used center fielder Reggie Abercrombie as a defensive replacement instead of the more polished Eric Reed.

 

There also has been talk of frosty relations between Girardi and first base coach Perry Hill, a holdover from former manager Jack McKeon's staff and a longtime favorite of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

"His introverted behavior and lack of people skills have caused most of the problems," the source said of Girardi, who spent one season as Yankees bench coach after a 15-year playing career. "Both sides are at fault."

 

This better not be over him leaving the club to join his sick wife.

 

Sources also told the Sun-Sentinel in the past month that Girardi and the front office have clashed over numerous personnel decisions, including where to play Miguel Cabrera, Dan Uggla and Josh Willingham and whether to use Johnson and Ricky Nolasco as starters or relievers.

 

Yes, Loria was upset when Girardi asked him from the dugout not to yell at the umpires. But it was Girardi's bench lieutenant, Gary Tuck, that sent the situation into orbit and caused all the clubhouse commotion afterward.

 

"If you don't f------ like it, get someone else," Tuck shouted from the dugout to Loria.

 

Seems like Girardi and his staff have done something to piss off every member of the Marlins Front Office and most of the fans.

 

This move, like the firesale, will hurt the franchise in the short run, but will be a positive in the long run.

 

Have fun losing in Chicago, Girardi.

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