Redmond emerging as Manager of Year candidate

Giancarlo Stanton is a strong contender to be the National League Most Valuable Player, but he isn’t the only one in the Marlins’ organization in the mix for a prestigious award.

Mike Redmond is placing himself in the thick of the National League Manager of the Year race.

In a season where Stanton has become the face of the franchise, and one of the young superstars in the game, Redmond is quietly guiding MLB’s most improved team.

If you are comparing 2013 to now, no other team has made a more dramatic rise in the standings than the Marlins.

The Marlins may be a game under .500 (71-72), but they are starting to heat up. They’re still a long shot at 3 1/2 games out in the Wild Card race. But with 19 games left, making up the necessary ground is certainly possible.

Those voting for the top manager honor should be looking at the big picture, and how far the Marlins have come in a year. Remember, they finished 62-100 in 2013. They had MLB’s second worst record. Only the Astrons (51-111) were worse, and the White Sox ended up 63-99,

Houston is improving, but enters at 64-81 and remains a team putting pieces together. The White Sox are 64-80, on the brink of another losing season.

Miami is trending in the right direction, and Redmond deserve his share of credit.

At age 43, he is four years removed from his days as a respected backup catcher, and he relates to his players. He had two years of managing in the Blue Jays’ system before the Marlins hired him to mold and teach one of the league’s youngest squads in 2013.

Redmond is the last person who would self promote for any individual award. He has an unassuming personality, yet he has always been about the team first. He was that way as a player, getting the most out of his abilities, and supporting those on the field. His passion for the game. His ability to keep things light, and yet be firm when necessary, have kept his team focused to play every day.

Certainly, like his team, he has gone through growing pains. Not all of his moves strategically pan out. That happens with all managers.

In the face of adversity, Redmond preaches the importance of “turning the page.” You can’t change what just happened, and if you dwell on it, you compound problems.

In a sport played every day, that can be awfully difficult.

Yet, his players have bought in. Stanton has bought in. Ask yourself why Stanton is an MVP candidate one season after he admittedly was miserable?

The answer is the new culture around the organization. Rather than be mired in negativity and coming to ballpark every day expecting to lose, the Marlins players now are confident they can win.

Redmond deserves his share of credit setting the tone for the turnaround in the morale within the clubhouse. He’s also on the same page with president of baseball operations Michael Hill, and upper management.

Take Stanton, for example.

No one ever questioned the slugger’s skills or brute strength. Sure he’s had injuries which slowed him down before. But Stanton is the first to say he got caught up in distractions and it affected his spirits the past.

Like the rest of his teammates, Stanton right now is on a mission.

The chemistry was established in Spring Training and it remains rock solid down the stretch.

Miami is playing loose, relaxed and with confidence. You saw that in Tuesday’s 6-3 win at Milwaukee. In the eighth inning, the Brewers loaded the bases with no outs. Rather than panic, reliever Bryan Morris got out of his own mess, not allowing a run.

In the ninth inning, the Marlins mounted a two-out rally, and scored three runs, with Casey McGehee belting a two-run homer, and Marcell Ozuna following with a solo shot.

The images from Tuesday night were the Marlins smiling, while Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez, who gave up the three runs, slamming his glove on the mound.

In crunch time, the Marlins weren’t flustered.

Still, even if the Marlins don’t finish with a .500 record, there is precedent working in Redmond’s favor to being Manager of the Year.

Voters can look back no further than 2006, when Joe Girardi won the honor, guiding the Marlins’ team that finished 78-84.

Under difficult circumstances, the ’06 team overcame a horrendous 11-31 start, and actually got over .500. Their best mark was 73-71 on Sept. 11. From that point, however, they stumbled to a 5-13 finish.

If Miami can avoid a dramatic slide, and finish near or above .500, Redmond could bring home the third N.L. Manager of the Year award in Marlins’ history.

Joe Frisaro

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