All-Star Dad

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nice catch, pops:



Marlins' Front Office Shortcomings Extend Beyond Beinfest

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[Note: Inspired by Deadspin, Strip Club With Stanton has initiated a Marlins blogger roundtable. Our first topic is an assessment of Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, who suddenly finds himself on the hot seat. SCWS' first entry can be read here, Michael Jong of Fish Stripes responds here.]

From: Dave
To: Ted, SCWS, Michael Jong


Like you guys, I have been wondering whether the assumption that Larry Beinfest should be fired is a fair one. I think we don't need to rehash what you two have written thus far regarding his less-than-stellar draft record or his iffy-at-best trade and free agent history. While he has pulled off some remarkable steals (Dontrelle Willis et al for Antonio Alfonseca et al, Ricky Nolasco et al for Juan Pierre) and found some amazing value in the draft (it is still hard to believe that Giancarlo Stanton was a late second round pick), those hits are accompanied by very many misses.

But what interests me most at this time is who would replace Beinfest. Last week's report that Jeffrey Loria would promote VP of player personnel Dan Jennings is troubling. It is easy to blame Beinfest for the Marlins' recent string of bad personnel decisions, but he is far from the only culprit. After the first 2-3 rounds of the draft, senior front office officials are largely absent from the war room; it is the mid-level execs and scouts who search for value after the early rounds. And Beinfest certainly is not in charge of assembling scouting reports on free agents and trade targets.

The fact is, the Marlins seem to have issues throughout its personnel and scouting departments. Even when discounting for bad luck, Beinfest seems to be relying on the opinions of scouts who thought John Buck and Heath Bell were worth signing. Any new guy who replaces Beinfest will still have to rely on these scouts to make crucial decisions, since the nature of the business demands lots of delegation in the personnel department.

Making an internal hire only exacerbates the problem, as it signals to the rest of the front office that their inputs were not the problem, it was the guy at the top who mis-interpreted (or misused) them. An external hire cannot immediately address the organizational problems, but someone from outside the Marlins organization will be much more likely to initiate a shake-up of the staff and look to bring in better talent evaluators from other clubs.

Firing Beinfest and promoting Dan Jennings (or Michael Hill for that matter) is the kind of cosmetic fix that the Marlins were guilty of making this offseason when they signed "proven closer" Heath Bell. It will draw praise from sportswriters and ESPN personalities, but could seriously jeopardize the team in the long run.


Beef Hell

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This story just keeps getting better and better. Ozzie Guillen had his chance to respond to Heath Bell's most recent criticisms on Tuesday:
"It was my turn this week," Guillen said of Bell's latest criticism. "Last week it was somebody else, the pitching coach. The week before it was the catchers, and the week before that it was the scouting report. When all these things pile up, then you don't have respect for someone. When you read every week, it's another [excuse], another, another ... all kind of stuff. You have to have principles. You have to look yourself in the mirror and blame yourself."
Sick burn, Oz. Making this all the better: the Marlins held a closed-door meeting to huddle around a radio and listen to Guillen's radio interview on Tuesday, so Bell had to listen to all of this with his teammates (probably) glaring at him. Bell said Tuesday that he's probably lost his teammates' respect (you think?).

But wait, it gets better.

First, Bell left Ozzie a voicemail apology on Monday night, only Ozzie never heard it because he didn't recognize Bell's number on his caller ID and deleted the message without listening to it. "I thought it was one of the media asking me about what happened," Guillen later said.

Then, Bell did whatever anyone does when they get caught saying something stupid: he blamed the media for being around to write down his dumb words:
All I have to say is what was taken yesterday on ESPN was out of proportion. I was not criticizing Ozzie one bit. I’m not retracting anything I said but that report on ESPN News, I’d say 80 percent of it was false.
Who said the Marlins wouldn't provide captivating drama when they fell out of the pennant race? Not me!

We (I) have a word for athletes who complain to the media about their bosses then chastise the media for directly quoting them: assholes.

Heath Bell is an asshole. Ozzie Guillen is no angel, but at least when he said something abominably stupid (even more idiotic than Bell's comments, but no need to beat a dead horse), he owned up to it and apologize. Bell went the petulant child route (I wonder where he learned that), and it is a color that doesn't suit him.


Heath Bell: Blame-shifter

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stop me if you've heard this before...
"It's hard to respect a guy that doesn't tell you the truth or doesn't tell you face-to-face," Bell said. "There's probably reasons why."
To be fair, Heath also said, "I stunk in April, plain and simple," but quickly moved on to a complaint about the fact that he's not closing now, despite having "a tremendous second half."

It's pretty clear that Bell senses he has become a scapegoat for the Marlins' poor performance this year (and he certainly played a big role), so he is trying to shift attention onto the manager who is on the hot seat. This is not a good look for you, Heath.


Kettle and Pot

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Media fight!

Fredi Gonzalez:
There's not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone
Jeffrey Loria:
I'm a little surprised because it’s classless — and you can quote me — especially because he was with us for five years and he was a colossal failure. Not nice. Not nice.
The "classy" thing to do probably would have been avoiding calling Gonzalez "a colossal failure," but what do I know?

Image via


Beinfest Safe, Ozzie on the Hot Seat?

Nevermind those previous reports about the Marlins firing president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. Both the Miami Herald and report that the front office will remain intact this offseason. First, the Herald:

According to two sources, owner Jeffrey Loria does not intend to make any major changes to his front office staff, and Larry Beinfest’s job would appear to be safe for at least another year.
Loria made it clear to the front office that he was keeping the status quo. If a shift in power were going to occur, that meeting was the time and place to do it. It also was made clear that there would be no reassigning of duties or responsibilities.
But both reports also state that Ozzie Guillen's status as manager is uncertain at best. Loria does not appear to have made any decision, but that can hardly be reassuring to Guillen.

I would rather see a change in the front office than on the bench. The Marlins have been plagued by poor personnel decisions for the past few seasons, and no manager is capable of making up for that. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, the Marlins brass will surely find more ways to infuriate us before this episode is over.


Big League Stew Wrap-up

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The kind proprietors of Big League Stew have asked me once again to pen the Marlins entry in their annual team bloggers' roundup. This year's theme is the concession speech, I hope you like it. Read it here.

Thanks again to Kevin Kaduk for letting me contribute.


Mike Lowell, Really?

Friday, September 21, 2012

More news on the management front today. First, Jeffrey Loria sort of denies the USA Today report saying the team will fire Larry Beinfest and replace him with Dan Jennings. "I never comment on any ridiculous and fabricated rumors," he told the Miami Herald. Loria did not say any else, though, making me wonder whether this is actually a denial. I think a change at the top of the baseball side is coming (based purely on a hunch and Loria's proclivity for firing people), so we probably have not heard the last of this story.

More interesting is a report from's Joe Frisaro, who wrote last night, "The Marlins, in considering a potential managerial change, have talked about ex-Marlin Mike Lowell as an option." Obviously, no decision has been made on retaining or firing Ozzie Guillen, but the fact that Mike Lowell has been brought up is setting off my bullshit alarms like crazy.

Unlike yours truly, Jeffrey Loria thinks a manager can significantly increase a team's win total. But if he believes that, why bring in a guy with no managerial experience whatsoever? I love Mike Lowell (who doesn't?), but he does not strike me as the kind of managerial candidate Loria prefers. Most likely, this "discussion" will stay just that, but if the team hires Lowell, it will mean one of two things:

  1. The team is making an effort to better market the team by making a former Marlin and hometown guy the figurehead.
  2. Jeffrey Loria is out of ideas
For the record, I think Loria will balk at firing Guillen because he will have to pay him the remaining $9 million or so owed to him regardless, and Loria will probably (hopefully) prefer to spend the extra money required to get a new manager on guys who actually hit and throw baseballs. But he's made crazier moves than this (like trading two minor leaguers for Guillen!), so I guess anything is possible at the moment.


Hazy Days

The Marlins are on their final road trip of the 2012 season, which can only mean one thing: Rookie hazing time! The team picked out some special travel outfits for its rookies Thursday, going with an Olympic theme. While it makes for some good photos, I'm not sure making a bunch of pro athletes wear Speedos and water polo helmets is the best way to embarrass them. I'm thinking 9 out of 10 baseball players are incredibly vain, they probably loved showing off their abs. But what do I know...

Image via Ricky Nolasco's Twitter


Larry Beinfest: On the Way Out?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

From USA Today:

The Marlins, according to two high-ranking executives but not permitted to speak publicly because the final decision will be made by owner Jeffrey Loria, are planning to fire Larry Beinfest, vice president/baseball operations, perhaps as early as next week. He is expected to be replaced by Dan Jennings, the Marlins' assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel.
This is not too surprising. I don't expect Guillen to get canned (if he survived the Castro controversy, he can survive one bad season). The shine has worn off of Beinfest in recent years, as the Heath Bell/John Buck signings and the long-term fallout from the Miguel Cabrera trade have overshadowed his earlier, more successful moves. Normally I'd be worried that we have fallen victim to recency bias, but the trend has become more clear (and more disappointing) over the past few years.
L-R: Beinfest, Guillen, Loria, and Samson in happier times
The trend aside, Beinfest has been in charge of personnel since 2002, so a change at the top could prove useful if only to shake things up. I am more concerned about his replacement than his firing. I cannot purport to know much about Jennings, but he has been in the Marlins front office for awhile, and the problems facing the team seem more organizational than individual. Unless Jennings has been a dissenting voice within the club (and there is some evidence to that effect), I'm skeptical that he will make a huge change as president of baseball operations.

In short, I am worried that Beinfest will become a scapegoat (though I don't necessarily oppose his firing), and bigger problems within the scouting and personnel department will be papered over by the new boss (who is part of the old regime). I don't think it is a bad idea to be skeptical when it comes to the machinations of Jeffrey Loria (which is obvious to regular readers of this blog), and this seems like a classic Loria move, one that looks more substantive than it actually is.

Also, what will become of Michael Hill? I'm not sure if he is above, equal to, or below Jennings in the Marlins org chart (both are listed as VPs on the Marlins website), but if the CBS report linked above is true, and he is in Beinfest's faction, he may not be on the job much longer either. I suspect we'll find out soon enough.


Listen to Ozzie, Don't Move the Marlins Park Fences

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Should the Marlins move in the fences at Marlins Park? Ozzie Guillen says no:
"We are not going to move the fence. That's it," he said. "If you want to be the hitting coach here and the fence is too far, go home. If you don't want to play here because the fence is too far, go home.

"I guarantee you – if you give them $100 million, they will play here. If you don't have a job, they will play here. That’s a bunch of [bleep]. We don't have home run hitters and the one [Mike Stanton] we have has 34. I don't see any [other] guy hitting 40 home runs – maybe Carlos Lee 30 years ago.

"We're not in last place because this ballpark's big. We’re in last place because we're bad – from the top to bottom, myself included." OK then. By the way, the Marlins have hit 30 more homers on the road than at home.
We agree with Ozzie, though not quite for the same reason. He is right to point out that Stanton is the only true power hitter on this team (though to be fair, only 13 of his 34 home runs have come at Marlins Park), so it's not like the stadium is preventing Jose Reyes from hitting 30 homeres.

But it is very difficult to argue that Marlins Park has not suppressed home run numbers. Instead of looking at the home run totals, as the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson did above, let's look at some other stats that use rates instead of counting.

At home, 7.1% of Marlins fly balls are leaving the park (all stats via FanGraphs). Only the San Francisco Giants have a lower HR/FB% at home (3.8%). Other teams at the bottom of the HR/FB% standings include all the usual big-ballpark suspects: Seattle, San Diego, the Mets, and (for some reason) the Dodgers. For comparison,  On the road, the Marlins HR/FB% jumps to 12.3%, better than all but 7 teams.

Is one season enough of a sample size to tell? @BoobiesNStanton and I argued about this over Twitter a few weeks ago; I say yes. The Marlins have hit 706 fly balls at home, and 642 fly balls on the road. That is a significant sample, but not enough for statistical significance (for a representative sample of a population that is within a 5% margin of error, you need roughly 1,050 data points).

So here I concede to Boobies and say that our sample size is not large enough - unless you count the plate appearances of visiting teams at Marlins Park and the Marlins' road opponents in the appropriate buckets. That would most likely put us over the 1,050 FB threshold, but I am tabling that project until the offseason.

Regardless of the whether Marlins Park suppresses home run numbers, I still say the team should leave the fences where they are. If the Marlins are hitting fewer home runs at home, so too are their opponents most likely. I would rather see the front office build a team that is best suited to Marlins Park rather than rejigger Marlins Park every few years to suit the needs of the team.

Additionally, though I will not attempt to statistically test this theory at the moment, I suspect the expansive outfield at Marlins Park provides other benefits, namely, a preponderance of triples and doubles. The Marlins have hit 21 triples and 121 doubles in 2709 home plate appearances at home, versus 16 triples and 125 doubles in 2878 plate appearances on the road. This benefit probably does not outweigh the reduction in home runs, but should be taken into consideration. I will take a deeper look at this during the offseason as well.


This one might not be shown in the Marlins Park Bobblehead Museum...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wednesday is Jose Reyes Bobblehead Night at Marlins Park, but there is one simple problem with the team's giveaway: the bobblehead doesn't look like the Marlins' shortstop...

"It doesn't look like me," he said.

"Not at all. Except for the beard."

He reached into his locker and pulled out one of the bobblehead dolls and said: "I mean, what do you think?"
Here's the bobblehead:
Image via PBP
For reference, here is Jose:

And here is a Lil Jose doll, which looks a lot like Reyes:
Looks like the Marlins need a new bobblehead vendor...


Week In Review

Monday, September 17, 2012

Overview: The Fish got swept in Philadelphia, then took two of three from the Reds.
Postives: The Diehards finally made their first trip to the new ballpark and the team put on a good show, winning 6-4 on Saturday. Stay tuned for a post about the new stadium experience. Two wins over the first place Reds is kind of cool.
Negatives: Everything else.
Line of the Week: Jacob Turner had the best game of his young career, beating the Reds on Friday.

W, 7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K

Highlight of the Week: Not much significance to anyone else, but David was super giddy to see the home run sculpture in action when Carlos Lee hit this two-run dong on Saturday.
Looking Ahead: Miami stays home for three versus the Braves and then goes to New York to face the Mets.


Don't Cross Ozzie

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On Friday, ESPN's Buster Olney posted a story titled "Ozzie Guillen's Uncertain Future," and (shockingly), Guillen wasn't cool about a suggestion that the Marlins have quit on Guillen:

In his own defense, Olney said he "referenced the opinion of rival evaluators on the Marlins' recent play," and not his own.

I'm sure this is exactly the type of exciting September action the front office envisioned when it assembled the team over the winter...


Clearance Sale on Ice Cream-Loving Closers

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Via the Miami Herald:
The Marlins will renew efforts this winter to trade Heath Bell, aware they probably will need to eat some of the $18 million he is still owed through 2014. They’re fed up with his performance and what they perceive as excuse-making.
If the Marlins pay less than $17 million of that remaining salary, I'd be shocked. I imagine teams will want Bell for less than the MLB minimum next season.


For the 1000th time, Loria says Marlins will compete

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The sun rises, Jeffrey Loria exudes confidence in his baseball team, the sun sets...

When asked Monday about the process to fix what ails the Marlins, Loria told the Miami Herald, "I don't think it’s going to take a long time at all."
Our official response:

My story notes that Loria has made confident predictions for his team in each of the past two seasons. When he stops being so optimistic, that will be news. For now, this is just a portrait of a man who needs to sell a bunch of 2013 season tickets but has received no help from his underperforming ballclub.


Week In Review

Monday, September 10, 2012

Overview: The Marlins split a four-game series against Milwaukee, then took two of three from Washington. With three weeks to go, Miami is 23.5 games out of first place in the NL East and 12.5 games out of the Wild Card. NBA season can't get here soon enough...
Positives: Even though he's missed 30 games this season, Giancarlo Stanton is only 5 home runs behind Ryan Braun for the NL lead (with 33 to Braun's 38). I weep when I think of how awful this season would have been were it not for Sr. Monsterdong.
Negatives: Too many to list, amirite?
Line of the Week: Good Ricky Nolasco made a cameo Sunday, shutting out the Nats:

9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 121 pitches, .205 WPA

Highlight of the Week: Sr. Monsterdong helped the Marlins shellac Nats' ace Stephen Strasburg on Friday night with this blast to centerfield:

Looking Ahead: The Marlins open a three-game series in Philadelphia this week, then host the Reds for three days starting on Friday. Ted and I will be making our first trip to Marlins Park on Saturday, hit us up on Twitter if you'll be there/want to buy us drinks at the Clevelander.


Same Old Marlins Fans

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We're (not) back!
Might be smallest crowd I've seen this year at #Marlins ... on Twitpic

Can't wait for a SCWS Marlins Park camo shirt to drop...

Also back: Ozzie Guillen's tweets(!):

So. happy. to. see. you. back. Oz.


Abbreviated Week In Review

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Marlins beat Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals 9-0 on Tuesday, Then they lost four game in a row, including a home sweep by the Mets. Even worse, there were no #MONSTERDONG sightings. We has a sad. Up next is a four game set against the Brewers, then three in Washington.


  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP