Dan Jennings will return to his former role as the general manager of the Miami Marlins after managing the club for most of the 2015 season, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes.
Jennings, 55, took over as the Marlins’ skipper when Mike Redmond was relieved of his duties after leading the team to a record of 16-22 through the teams’ first 38 contests. Prior to managing the Marlins in 2015, Jennings was just a front office executive, never having managed at the major league level.
There was some talk of issues between Jennings and Marlins’ owner Jeffery Loria, according to Heyman’s report. That fueled speculation Jennings could be done with the Marlins organization despite having three more years left on his contract.
After taking over as manager, Jennings led the team to a 55-69 (.444) record to finish the season. However, through the Marlins’ last 31 games, they were able to play to a 19-12 record, winning eight of their last 10 series under Jennings, as Heyman notes. A relatively strong finale to Jennings’ brief stint in the dugout.
But the Marlins’ poor season does solely fall on its managerial tandem. Several injuries and other controversy resulted in the team having to send out a severely depleted lineup.
For starters, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, playing in his first season since inking a 13-year contract, suffered a broken bone in his left hand, causing him to miss the rest of the season (via Fox Sports). But prior to his injury, he was hitting.265 with 27 HR and 67 RBI in 74 games. Despite missing more than half the season, Stanton still finished 10th in the National League in HR.
Contributing 23 HR and 85 RBI to the Marlins in 2014, outfielder Marcell Ozuna was expected to play a huge part for the 2015 team. But after a 1-for-36 slump, struggles caused him to be demoted. However, the reasoning behind his demotion came into question by several people, including Ozuna, who spoke to the Miami Herald about his demotion.
“I was in the jail over there. It’s like a jail. But it’s OK. I’m back, and I’m going to help the team, help Miami.”
Also, by demoting Ozuna, the Marlins will likely delay his ability to become an arbitration eligible player, thus delaying his free agency, something Ozuna hinted at in the same interview.
“They tell me you’re going down for work, get your feeling back and you come back. I know what happened when they sent me down. I knew that’s coming.”
Stud athlete Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ ace pitcher, also did not contribute much. He only made 11 starts as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery and suffered another injury.
Next season is now the priority, and it’s obvious that Jennings will be responsible for assembling a strong stable of players to hopefully compete for an NL East crown.
Several candidates have been interviewed for the Marlins expected managerial opening. Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly wrote that former Astros’ skipper Bo Porter and former Indians’ skipper Manny Acta have already been interviewed for the manager position.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweeted out that Phillies’ coach Larry Bowa is expected to be interviewed this Monday while continuing to reinforce the belief that Jennings would return to his GM post.
Hearing Larry Bowa is expected to interview Monday for #Marlins managerial job. Dan Jennings likely returning to GM post.
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) October 5, 2015
During his career, Bowa has previously been a manager, once managing the San Diego Padres (1987-1988) and the same Phillies he works for now (2001-2004). His career record as a manager sits at 418-435 (.490).
But at the moment, Marlins’ fans should not expect any major moves to be made until their GM situation is resolved. An official announcement regarding Jennings returning as the GM is expected sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.
[Images by Rob Foldy, Mike Ehrmann, Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images]