Results tagged ‘ Fredi Gonzalez ’

Edwin and Fredi reunite

Last June, Edwin Rodriguez was placed in the difficult position of replacing Fredi Gonzalez as manager of the Marlins.

Even after the decision was made, Rodriguez and Gonzalez have maintained a close friendship.

On Monday morning, before the Marlins faced the Braves at Roger Dean Stadium, Rodriguez shed some light on how the transition period went.

“I think it was the first three or four mornings, he was calling me every day,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously, he was trying to help me out about the whole situation. He did call me for those three or four first days.

“It was mainly about how to use the bullpen and the lineup, and all that. He was more asking me, if I needed any help. He wasn’t trying to tell me anything. He was asking me if I had any problems with anything. It was very nice of him. He understood what this situation was that I was coming into.”

Gonzalez, now the Braves manager, and Rodriguez more recently kept in touch during the NFL playoffs, courtesy of a Spanish-language radio show in Miami.

For a few weeks, the two managers made NFL playoff picks on Jerry Del Castillo’s show on AM 670.

Rodriguez, who doesn’t watch much of the NFL, agreed to go on with the current Braves manager.

It was all in good fun, and Rodriguez played along that he was an NFL expert, even though he didn’t follow the season. In fact, Rodriguez said he didn’t watch the Super Bowl.

But he agreed to do the radio show because he didn’t want to appear like he was ducking the challenge of picking the games.

Joe Frisaro

Hanley ready for fresh start

JUPITER, Fla. — A healthy and happy Hanley Ramirez took some swings in the batting cage on Monday morning, the day before the Marlins begin full-squad workouts at Roger Dean Stadium.

H2RST11a.jpgThe three-time All-Star shortstop is ready to put a rough 2010 behind him, and regain the form that resulted in him being the NL batting champion in 2009.

Entering his sixth season with the Marlins, Ramirez noted the goal is to reach the playoffs.

“I want to know what it feels like,” Ramirez said of reaching the postseason. “I’m tired of watching it on TV. I want to be in there. It’s different. A lot of motivation.”

Reminded that his former teammate, Cody Ross, was part of the Giants’ World Series team, Ramirez said: “Good for him. He deserves it.”

Ramirez said he was pleased to see a lot of happy faces in the Marlins clubhouse.

After missing the final few weeks of 2010 with a left elbow strain, Ramirez enters camp healthy and eager to improve on a self proclaimed down year.

“I did more lower body [work] this year,” Ramirez said. “I want to have my legs at the end of the season. I did light weights to make me stronger.”

Ramirez said he would like to steal more bases, building on the 32 he swiped a year ago.

“I don’t have a number, but I want to get more than I got last year,” he said. “I’ve got to get in scoring position for those guys hitting behind me. That’s one thing I can do, steal a base and get in scoring position.”

In the offseason, Ramirez became a father again, as his wife gave birth to a girl – Hailey.

Ramirez also was asked about his relationship with former manager Fredi Gonzalez, who is now with Atlanta.

“That’s in the past. Fredi and me, we get along,” Ramirez said. “He’s a good person. He just tried to help me. Now, we got a new manager. I’ve got a good relationship with Edwin [Rodriguez]. I want to show I respect everybody.”

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins set to name Rodriguez

With the World Series completed, the Marlins now are about to conclude their manager search.

Their search has led the team back to where the season ended.

In recent days, speculation had been growing that there were two finalists — Edwin Rodriguez and Bo Porter.

But on Tuesday, the Nationals announced their staff, and Porter was named their third base coach.

With Porter out of the mix, the Marlins now are set to announce they will retain Rodriguez. An official announcement is expected on Wednesday, according to sources.

Along with naming Rodriguez, who met on Tuesday with team owner Jeffrey Loria in New York, the Marlins are set to finalize their staff. Perry Hill will return to the ballclub and be the infield and first base coach. John Mallee will be back as hitting coach. Brandon Hyde returns as bench coach, and pitching coach Randy St. Claire will return. Joe Espada is lined up to be the third base coach.

Rodriguez posted a 46-46 record with the Marlins after taking over for Fredi Gonzalez in late June. For the season, Florida was 80-82 — third place in the NL East.

Rodriguez is the first Puerto Rican-born manager in MLB history. The 50-year-old was promoted from being the Triple-A New Orleans manager on June 23.

A week ago, Marlins president David Samson said the team expected to make a managerial announcement after the World Series. 

Shortly after the season ended, the Marlins pursued Bobby Valentine, who withdrew from consideration a couple of weeks ago. The team also inquired about the availability of Ozzie Guillen, who is returning to the White Sox.

— Joe Frisaro

Porter emerges as frontrunner

The Marlins may be weighing all their options, but the candidate that appears to have the most momentum to manage the club in 2011 is familiar to Florida fans.

Indications are Bo Porter has emerged as the frontrunner.

Porter, a former big league outfielder, was the Marlins’ third base/outfield coach from 2007-09, before he joined the Arizona staff in 2010.

Numerous sources confirmed the Marlins have serious interest in Porter, who is regarded as a strong teacher of fundamentals. Known for being well prepared, the 38-year-old already has been making inquiries about candidates for his coaching staff.

Earlier this month, Porter interviewed for the Pirates managerial position.

The Marlins’ search is entering another week after Bobby Valentine, who was offered the job, opted to withdraw from consideration. 

Edwin Rodriguez, who went 46-46 after replacing Fredi Gonzalez on June 23, remains in the mix. But the club hasn’t spoken with Rodriguez since the season ended.

Porter previously interviewed for the Marlins job after Gonzalez was dismissed in June. Porter impressed the club then, and he remained under consideration even after the team decided to stay with Rodriguez.

Other candidates being mentioned are Tony Pena, Ted Simmons and Jim Fregosi. It remains unclear how much serious interest the team has in them.

The Marlins finished 80-82 in 2010, and the organization is placing an emphasis to improving fundamentally.

Florida has a young outfield that features rookies Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton. Cameron Maybin isn’t a rookie, but he is 23-years-old.

Porter would be looked at to help the developments of these young players.

In recent years, Porter worked with former Marlin, Cody Ross, who now has become a playoff hero for the Giants. In 2008 and 2009, Porter frequently stated that Ross was deserving of a Gold Glove.

— Joe Frisaro


No clear-cut manager frontrunner

A list of candidates is being compiled, and more names are starting to surface. What remains unclear in the Marlins’ managerial search is if there is a true frontrunner.

The intriguing name out there is Ozzie Guillen, whose status with the White Sox remains unsettled. However, reports are out that Guillen is seeking a long-term contract to remain in Chicago.

If he were to become available, Guillen would instantly appear to be the Marlins’ first choice. The Marlins, though, haven’t made any public comments regarding their managerial position.

The team has repeatedly said after the season they will evaluate current manager Edwin Rodriguez, who has the Marlins one game over .500 (76-75) heading into their final road trip, which begins on Thursday at Milwaukee.

Guillen has ties with the Marlins. He was the third base coach in 2002-03.

Because some of the potential candidates project to be on the staffs of playoff teams, the search could last a little while. Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and third base coach Tom Foley are a couple of names to monitor. Both are regarded as solid big league managerial candidates. Whether they are fits for Florida is unclear right now.

There are a couple of other names floating around. Bobby Valentine, who was in consideration in June after Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed, remains in the picture. How much so, though, is in question. Indications are that Valentine will not get the job.

Bo Porter, the D-backs bench coach, interviewed after Gonzalez was let go. Porter also is being discussed internally. But like Valentine, he may not be the first option.

Padres first base coach Rich Renteria and Yankees bench coach Tony Pena also are under consideration. And Ted Simmons, the Padres bench coach, has been mentioned, but he doesn’t appear to be the first choice.

Other names brought up in various media reports are Larry Bowa and Wally Backman.

For now, the Marlins are playing out the season before deciding which direction to go in 2011.

— Joe Frisaro


Renteria in managerial mix

Another potential candidate to manage the Marlins in 2011 has surfaced, and he is someone familiar with the organization.

Rich Renteria, currently the first base coach of the San Diego Padres, is on the Marlins’ radar to possibly manage the club next year.

Renteria managed four seasons in the Marlins’ Minor League system. He was at Class-A Brevard County in 1998, and Class-A Kane County in 1999. Renteria also managed Double-A Portland from 2000-01.

The 49-year-old former second baseman played with the Marlins in 1993-94.

Previous big league managing experience, however, is viewed as a plus in the managerial search.

Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, who was AL Manager of the Year with the Royals in 2003, is considered a very strong candidate.

But sources say Renteria is highly respected, and considered a viable choice.

The Marlins will address their manager situation after the season. Edwin Rodriguez, who has guided the club since Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed in June, is under consideration. Bobby Valentine also is in the mix. And reports say Larry Bowa and Wally Backman are candidates, but those names have not been confirmed.

One high profile possibility, however, is not regarded as a candidate. On Friday, the Dodgers announced that Joe Torre will not return in 2011, and that Don Mattingly will take over in Los Angeles.

Don’t look for Torre, who is 70, to be in the Marlins’ mix. The Marlins are looking for a fit to develop their young talent to reach the next level. Veterans like Torre tend to enter situations where the team is on the verge of winning immediately.

— Joe Frisaro


Pena a managerial candidate

Having previous big league managing experience will be a plus for those under consideration to manage the Marlins in 2011.

Meeting the criteria is Tony Pena.

Currently the Yankees bench coach, Pena spent parts of four seasons (2002-05) managing the Royals. In 2003, he was named the American League Manager of the Year.

Internally, the Marlins see Pena as a serious candidate. 

The Marlins will address their manager situation after the season. So right now they are evaluating their options.

Edwin Rodriguez, who replaced Fredi Gonzalez in late June, also will receive consideration. But the team has made it clear that it will further evaluate Rodriguez once the season ends.

Most likely, the team will explore several possibilities, including Bobby Valentine. With Pena expected to be in the mix, the search could last throughout the playoffs.

The Yankees are primed to be in the postseason. So if the Marlins plan on interviewing Pena, they may have to wait until an opportune time arises in October or perhaps early November.

Pena, 53, was a five-time All-Star, and he won four Gold Glove awards. 

One of the primary positions the Marlins plan to address in the offseason is catcher.

— Joe Frisaro


Valentine on Mad Dog Radio

The “process” ran its course. Now, the Marlins have moved forward. Edwin Rodriguez is the new manager, but questions remain as to why negotiations with Bobby Valentine broke down.

A few days ago, Valentine made some critical remarks on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.

“If this is a Major-League process, I hope I’m never in the process again. It’s very disturbing, confusing and it was insulting at times,” Valentine said on ESPN.

Valentine offered some more insight on SIRIUS XM’s Mad Dog Radio with host Chris Russo.

Here’s the conversation.

Chris Russo: “Those are some harsh words. Can you tell me what’s going on with the Marlins?”

Bobby Valentine: “I didn’t mean for them to be harsh. I just meant for them to be honest. It’s a tough process once you start getting down to a situation. We never negotiated anything and, you know, I just feel when you’re 60 years old – you know, I know Jeffrey [Loria], I’ve known him for 25 years – I just felt that being left in the dark isn’t quite the way to allow things to move forward.

But I think it’s a good situation. As I told them right from the start, someone from the outside moving in in mid-season I don’t believe is a good idea. I don’t think you can train coaches and train players to think and do what you’re expecting on the run. That’s what spring training is for. And Edwin Rodriguez has had these guys in the minor leagues. He knows the spring training process, what that organizational philosophy is. So, you know, that was a good move. If, in fact, they had to change Fredi [Gonzalez] I would think that’s probably the right way to go.”

Russo: “So in other words, Bobby, they talked to you and then left you in the dark? What do you mean ‘left you in the dark?’ They began a discussion? What happened?”

Valentine: “Yeah, basically. I mean, I don’t want to get into the details on it, Chris. You know, I mean, I was reading in the paper I wasn’t a candidate, you know? And I don’t really like that stuff. You know, we did have conversations and then the next thing I know their leaks have people writing things that I’m no longer a candidate and they’re going in another direction. Well, you know, if that’s the case tell me. I’m a big boy. It’s real easy.”

Russo: “Would you say you’re soured on this whole managerial search now for these jobs? Was the Baltimore thing decent?”

Valentine: “No. To tell you the truth, the in-season stuff where you have all the rules and regulations that are set forth – rightfully so, I guess – by the commissioner that you have to interview so many different types of people from in and outside your organization before you’re allowed to hire a person you want to, it’s a pretty tough process. I don’t know that it’s tough. It doesn’t seem like it’s the way most industries do it.”

— Joe Frisaro

Continuity after a confusing week

A constant in an otherwise confusing week was the Marlins determination to “find the right guy” to be the next manager.

Some clarity came on Tuesday, one day shy of a week that Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed.

Ending six franctic days of speculation and plot twists, team owner Jeffrey Loria told the team minutes before taking the field on Tuesday that Edwin Rodriguez would manage the club for the remainder of the season.

At that point, the owner will re-evaluate which direction to go. The timing of the decision was crucial because the clubhouse was wondering what would happen next.

“Continuity is important, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Loria said.

To the players credit, they stayed as focused as possible under otherwise trying circumstances.

To Rodriguez’s credit, he handled his interim status with class and dignity. Never did he speak about what was in his best interests. He talked about how it would be fair foremost for the players to know who they will be answering to. Now they know.

What this means for the big picture — the future of the franchise — we’ll have to wait and see.

Still unanswered is what went wrong in the negotiations with Bobby Valentine. The frontrunner when Gonzalez was let go, all signs pointed to Valentine taking over until late Sunday night.

When Loria announced Rodriguez was staying on, he said he didn’t want to go into details of anything else. So the team isn’t saying what happened.

Indications are there was a difference in philosophy, perhaps with Valentine wanting more say in personnel moves. The Marlins remain a low-payroll roster, and the team has a number of young players, like Mike Stanton, who are adjusting to the big leagues.

Typically, high-profile managers are brought in with the expectation to win now. Whether it’s Pat Riley or Bill Parcells or Phil Jackson, they are looking to win championships, not rebuild.

Bobby Valentine would have been a Pat Riley or Bill Parcells type presence in South Florida. He would have been the Marlins’ answer to Joe Torre.

Those types of people aren’t stepping into seven-year projects. They are there to help a team reach a championship, sooner rather than later.

Perhaps after the season, Valentine will be re-visited. By then, though, he may entertain other possibilities.

Bo Porter also interviewed for the job, and he was impressive. Now Arizona’s third base coach, Porter was a strong candidate after a very good interview last Friday. Had the Marlins gone with Porter, it likely would have been a sign that they would get younger again.

Also the outfield coach, Porter would have been viewed as someone to work with Stanton, Cameron Maybin, and perhaps Logan Morrison, when he eventually is promoted from Triple-A. Porter has familiarity in the clubhouse because he was on the Marlins staff from 2007-09. The organization likes his energy and passion.

As part of the staff shakeup, outfield coach Dave Collins stepped down last Saturday. Collins was very popular. Porter would have been a familiar voice as a replacement.

By staying with Rodriguez, the organization has more time to weigh the situation without making any hasty decisions. The players also have a building connection with Rodriguez, whom many played for in the Minor Leagues.

For the rest of the year, the Marlins players and staff can focus on playing baseball. The team has work to do if they want to get back into the race. They are three-games under .500, and the July 31 trade deadline is approaching. So more changes can be made — this time in terms of player movement — if the club falls completely out of the race.

Now with the cloud of uncertainty lifted, the current staff and set of players have been given a chance to seize the opportunity.

— Joe Frisaro


Porter new frontrunner?

If the Marlins indeed are turning their search away from Bobby Valentine, the new frontrunner may be Bo Porter.

Porter, now Arizona’s third base coach, interviewed for the Florida job last Saturday. From 2007-09, he was the Marlins third base/outfield coach.

Jon Heyman of reported late Monday that the Marlins are seriously considering Porter.  There are strong indications that the team is internally is giving the prospect strong consideration.

Porter is looked upon as a candidate who will bring energy to the job. He was respected by the players in his three seasons as a coach, and he has a little more seasoning coaching at the big league level than Edwin Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was named interim manager when Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed on June 23. The first Puerto Rican-born manager in MLB history, Rodriguez has been well received in Puerto Rico where the Marlins are facing the Mets in a three-game series in San Juan.

Rodriguez interviewed for the job on Saturday, and he remains in the mix. The process has no time line, but Porter may have the inside edge, if the field is down to Porter and Rodriguez, who previously was the Triple-A New Orleans manager.

Talks between the Marlins and Valentine broke down on Sunday, and it is unclear if there is any chance of both sides getting together. In the meantime, Porter is definitely a strong candidate for the full-time job.

The organization has had no comment on the managerial search.

— Joe Frisaro