Not only has the team’s miserable production on the field (5-17 as of Friday, the worst mark in the majors) caused fans to avoid state-of-the-art Marlins Park like the plague, Loria’s seeming desire to control every aspect of his organization is continuing to cause problems in the clubhouse.
In the latest instance of micromanagement, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan cites multiple sources saying that Loria forced first-year manager Mike Redmond to start rookie Jose Fernandez in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader in Minnesota rather than Ricky Nolasco – the team’s highest-paid player — in order to allow the top prospect to pitch in warmer temperatures.
It actually ended being colder for Fernandez’s start (38 degrees) than for Nolasco’s a few hours later (42 degrees), but Loria’s decree was reportedly not received well in the Marlins locker room regardless.
When a team plays twice in one day, it is usually customary to allow the more veteran player to choose which game he would like to start. Redmond insisted that the move was “an organizational choice,” but his players seemed to believe that the call came from up top.
“He was embarrassed,” one of Passan’s sources said of the manager. “He tried to fight it. He had nothing to do with it.”
Loria, though, denied to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that he had anything to do with the rotation rearrangement.
“I had nothing to do with the decision,” he told Rosenthal on Friday. “I was informed of the decision by the baseball department. I told them it was their call.
“I don’t make decisions on who to pitch and when, how to go about it — that’s not my role. Sometimes they call me and tell me what they’re doing. But I don’t call them up and say, ‘This is what is going to happen.’ That’s not true.”
Over the offseason, Loria made a bad team worse by jettisoning Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson — all former All-Stars — to Toronto in a move that was viewed by most as nothing more than a salary dump. The team, which finished last in the NL East in 2012, has struggled in every area since the trade, ranking dead last (30th) in the majors in runs and team batting average and 27th in team ERA.
A promising farm system is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise floundering Marlins organization. Fernandez, who is ranked as the team’s No. 1 prospect by MLB.com and Baseball America, is at the forefront of that youth movement, and two players from the Toronto trade (outfielder Jake Marisnick and left-hander Justin Nicolino) are expected to get their shot at the majors before the end of next season.