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Marlins should keep Hanley, fire Fredi

May 18, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

Well, not today. Hanley Ramirez’s lack of hustle and subsequent rant about his manager’s qualifications shouldn’t be rewarded. Manager Fredi Gonzalez undoubtedly made the right call in benching Ramirez after Monday’s incident, and further punishing the shortstop by sitting him down for a game or two seems like the right call.
Let’s face it, though: Ramirez is the best thing the Marlins have going for them. As a 26-year-old shortstop with a career .315/.386/.528 line, 110 homers and 167 steals already to his credit, he’s on a Hall of Fame path. And while some have questioned his work ethic, he’s made obvious gains in his play at shortstop over the last couple of years. After 2007, I would have advocated moving him to center field. Now it looks like he’s going to last at shortstop for several more years before probably moving to third sometime in his thirties.
Gonzalez just isn’t an important piece. I wrote last October that replacing him with Bobby Valentine was a good idea. He’s a generic manager with no creativity. He knows what he wants when it comes to every role on the club, so it doesn’t matter whether he has the right personnel or not. As long as a player looks like he should be a No. 2 hitter or a shutdown closer, it’s unimportant if he can actually do the job or not. It’s more about looking the part.
That’s not to say he’s all bad. But he’s is replaceable, and now that he’s lost the respect of the main man in the clubhouse, it’s only a matter of time before he is, in fact, replaced. It can’t be this week and probably not this month. But if the Marlins are still hanging around the .500 mark by mid-June, odds are that he’ll go.

  1. Ron - May 18, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    That’s it.
    Let the lunatics run the asylum. That will work out well.

  2. JimmyY - May 18, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Right, that makes sense. Let the over entitled ballplayers do whatever the hell they want whenever they want. I mean, who cares, really? Stupid column, idiot, Ramirez needs his ass sat down for a lonnnnnnnnnng time or get him the hell out of there for good.

  3. mgflolox - May 18, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    I seem to remember that Garry Templeton was also on a Hall of Fame path at age 24, and Reuben Sierra also at age 26 seemed destined for Cooperstown. It seems that Hanley has some real attitude issues to deal with, and if he doesn’t turn it around, his decline will most likely be swift and ugly. It takes a helluva lot more than talent to build a HOF-worthy career.

  4. Andy - May 18, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    I can’t rule out the possibility that firing Fredi Gonzalez might help the Marlins better engage Hanley, or even help the team win as a result; but I’m less comfortable than Pouliot seems to be with the idea of essentially firing someone for doing the right thing.

  5. Old Gator - May 18, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    Seems to me that Matthew hit the nail right on the head. He nowhere advocates “letting the inmates run the asylum,” pointing out, quite correctly, that Fredi is an unimaginative manager who plugs the wrong people into their positions, but there are a lot of other things wrong with the way he field manages the club. He also is pretty explicit about not giving the impression that a pouty player can get a manager fired on the basis of his pouting alone. He also stresses that Hanley deserved his punishment, so I don’t really see what you guys are sniping at him about; he effectively agrees with both of you.
    .
    The Feesh are, despite having a few good ballplayers, basically a rag-and-bone shop missing some very key pieces. It needs infielders who can field. It needs a much better bullpen. Unfortunately, these things cost money that Scrooge McLoria has made it very clear he doesn’t plan to spend. Given these built-in hamstrings, the team needs a manager who’s a lot smarter than Fat Fredi, who was brought in, you will recall, as a balm on the frazzled ego of Scrooge McLoria after Joe Girardi began treating him with the contempt he had earned. The Feesh just aren’t going to contend in this baseball marketplace without more investment in personnel than the ownership thinks it needs to make, but it still needs more than a lapdog at the helm if the team is going move off even a little bit off square one.

  6. Rat - May 19, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    Creativity? The game has been played the same for 100 years, who needs creativity. You need players. And lets see, you advocate Bobby Valentine, who in 15 years as a manager has a record of 1117-1072, 1 pennant and no world series wins. What could be more generic then that record. The only creactive thing he has done is wear a disguise after he was kicked out of a game.

  7. Jimmy Marlins Fan - May 19, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    yes, its absolutely Scrooge McLoria’s fault and fredi’s fault that the team isnt very good defensively and has a couple of younger player off to slow starts and the bullpen being atrocious(same goes for ALOT of other teams with more money)
    and superstars athletes definitely need coddling because they hear the word “no” all to often…so their feelings should never, ever be hurt thus you risk having to trade him to the red sox
    im sorry gator, but you are flat out wrong here and author of this piece should be fired for ever having thought that hanley belonged in center field…because young shortstops dont make errors no?
    this hanley non-sense is way over blown and will be forgotten if the marlins go on a little winning streak

  8. Jonny5 - May 19, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    But Gator, don’t forget, If you won’t pay the money for good players you NEED to win more games, What makes you think he’ll spend good money on a better skipper?

  9. Joey B - May 19, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    “The Feesh are, despite having a few good ballplayers, basically a rag-and-bone shop missing some very key pieces. It needs infielders who can field. It needs a much better bullpen.”
    You’re painting yourself into a corner. Either the team is not particularly good, in which case Freddi is doing a good job, or Freddi is weak, but the team is still playing fairly well, in which case they must have pretty good personnel
    It’ll be difficult to simultaneously hold that the owner provided a weak team, the manager is weak, but the record is good.

  10. Old Gator - May 19, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Look, you’re missing the point: the team doesn’t have a “few young players” who are still learning; it has the worst fielding percentage in major league baseball with an infield that includes veterans like Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla, and Hanley is in his fifth season already. And to excuse the deficiencies on this team by claiming that teams with fatter payrolls have problems too is absurd. I would trust Larry Beinfest implicitly to make astute choices about how to spend more money if he had it to spend. But he doesn’t. And as long as he doesn’t, the reality is that there will be good ballplayers – and not even top tier ones – he can’t obtain to address the problems this team has. Yeah, it’s Scrooge’s fault. When he finally hauls this team out of the financial basement and populates the roster with better ballplayers, even if he has to pay them what they’re worth, and they still don’t perform up to expectations, then it won’t be quite so much his fault anymore. Meanwhile, he’s stuck with the stigma of his penuriousness. And if you think that stigma’s thick down here, take a quick trip up to Montreal some afternoon and mention his name aloud while hanging out in a sports bar. Gee, do we maybe see a pattern here?
    .
    Replying to comment from Johnny5: where did I say he would spend more money on a manager? He’ll go out and find himself another “bargain,” like Fredi. Buddha willing, his new bargain will be a smarter field commander than his old one.

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