Report: Marlins to offer manager job to Bobby Valentine

The Marlins have apparently already found their replacement for Fredi Gonzalez.

From the Miami Herald:

Bobby Valentine is expected to be offered the job as the Florida Marlins’ next manager.

Valentine, an analyst for ESPN, confirmed through an e-mail he was flying to South Florida to meet with close friend and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and several team executives.

That’s when Loria is expected to offer the 60-year-old former Rangers and Mets skipper a four-year contract to become the organization’s 11th manager, ESPN reported Thursday night.

Team president David Samson confirmed he called Valentine moments after the team fired its winningest manager, Fredi Gonzalez, Wednesday morning. Samson said Thursday that Valentine’s interview Friday would be the first in a series with “several” candidates.

It was a little strange that the Marlins decided to fire Gonzalez after winning two straight games. (Usually owners wait until the team is on a downslide to fire the manager.) But if they already had Valentine lined up as a candidate and felt good that he would agree to come aboard, then their timing with Gonzalez makes more sense.

Valentine last managed in the big leagues from 1996 to 2002 with the Mets. He was with the Chiba Lotte Marines from 2004 until he was fired in 2009 and has spent the last year with ESPN.

I’m dying to see how he and Hanley Ramirez will get along.

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Report: Marlins fire manager Fredi Gonzalez

In a rather surprising development, the Marlins have fired manager Fredi Gonzalez according to the Palm Beach Post.

Here is part of owner Jeffrey Loria’s statement regarding the firing:

It is never easy to make a change in managers. Fredi has been with our Club for four years. We have become close, and I am extremely fond of Fredi. I, along with all our fans, am grateful for Fredi’s contributions. At the same time, we can’t let personal feelings get in the way of taking steps that we believe are necessary to improve our ballclub.

Decisions on individual personnel cannot supercede our overall goal, which is to win. We believe we can do better and be better. We owe it to our fans to put this team in the best possible position to win. Everyone knows how I feel about winning. That’s the reason we’re making this change.

We still have a very long season in front of us, and plenty of time to turn things around. Everyone – our fans, our team, our organization, and myself – wants us to win. That continues to be, and will always be, the goal.

Along with Gonzalez, bench coach Carlos Tosca and hitting coach Jim Presley were both let go as well. Triple-A New Orleans skipper Edwin Rodriguez was named interim manager, while Brandon Hyde was named interim bench coach and John Mallee was named interim hitting coach.

I couldn’t even begin to speculate why Gonzalez was fired (the Marlins are only two games under .500, although are 7.5 games back in the NL East), but I can assure you that we don’t know the full story yet. He was named The Sporting News Manager of the Year in 2008 and with a win over the Cardinals earlier this year, he won more games than any other skipper in Marlins history. Something doesn’t add up here.

One club that could be interested in Gonzalez’s services is the Braves, with whom he spent a couple of years with before being named manager of the Marlins in 2006. Bobby Cox is retiring at the end of the season and Gonzalez might be the perfect fit.

Either way, Gonzalez will have suitors. He earned a lot of respect for the way he handled an incident with Hanley Ramirez earlier in the season and I’m sure he’ll be back on someone’s bench next season.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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