Fredi Gonzalez Was Cast Adrift by Marlins, Owner
In the end, Florida's record doomed Gonzalez. But in a number of ways, he had the deck stacked against him -- and not just by payroll.
In February, Loria said, "I expect us to make the playoffs." This despite clearly non-playoff defense and relief pitching and a lack of experience.
So with the Marlins two games under .500, in fourth in the NL East and six games out of a playoff spot, it's no surprise that Loria canned Gonzalez and two coaches.
But if making the playoffs was such an issue, why was power-hitting prospect Mike Stanton not promoted until after it was sure he wouldn't be eligible for arbitration in the winter of 2012-13?
Oh yeah, to save Loria money.
And consider two events this season that didn't help Gonzalez's standing.
A confidante of Gonzalez recently described a conversation between the two regarding the May incident with star shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Gonzalez pulled Ramirez from a game for not hustling, and Ramirez initially criticized Gonzalez and refused to apologize.
In the end, Ramirez acted humbled and Gonzalez came out on top. But it still made an issue of Gonzalez and his handling of the clubhouse and his star.
As the confidante told Gonzalez, Ramirez had been spoiled by special treatment long before Gonzalez ever had to manage him.
And who is one of the chief culprits in the spoiling? Well, earlier this year, Ramirez -- whose attitude had been a problem before -- received a diamond-studded ".342" pendant to commemorate last year's batting title.
Last Saturday, the Marlins were penalized for batting out of order after a communication problem between Gonzalez and the umpires.
And why couldn't the umpire hear Gonzalez's switches? The Marlins handed out World Cup-style vuvuzelas to fans.
The loss that night was Florida's 17th in 27 games. And the end for Gonzalez seemed nigh.
There's some belief in the game that the Marlins have already set up a deal with Bobby Valentine to succeed Gonzalez. Which could turn into a interesting personality battle between manager and owner.
Gonzalez is a classy baseball man who has paid his dues (same for coaches Carlos Tosca and Jim Presley, who were also fired, by the way). Gonzalez would likely be welcomed back to the Braves, where he was once third-base coach, for the rest of the season in some capacity. And he could be a candidate to manage Atlanta in 2011 when (if?) Bobby Cox retires as planned.