Marlins Promote Michael Hill, Dan Jennings

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Marlins announced Sunday that general manager Michael Hill will replace Larry Beinfest as president of baseball operations, with vice president of player development Dan Jennings moving up to Hill's old job. The move is a touch surprising: Jennings seemed to be the front-runner to replace Beinfest, while reports of the schism in the front office had Hill on the outside looking in with Beinfest. Instead, Hill will remain Jennings' boss.

Michael Hill, photo via
But even more baffling is this: Hill has been with the organization for 11 seasons, Jennings for 12. Beinfest came to the Marlins when Jeffrey Loria bought the team in 2002. If Loria was indeed unhappy with the direction of the team, why replace Beinfest with two guys who had been working for him for a decade?

Unless Beinfest was ruling the front office with an iron fist (and reports indicate that it was Loria who was doing that as of late, not Beinfest), it is unrealistic to think that Hill and Jennings will make the kind of changes necessary for the Marlins to be more competitive in the coming years. This seems like little more than a cosmetic change in the front office, where management will continually be hamstrung by their owner's notorious penny-pinching and micromanagement.

If there was one big damning fact hanging over Beinfest, it was his bad record in drafts through much of his tenure. While his staff hit big on early-round picks Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Johnson, none of Beinfest's first round picks from 2002-2009 made lasting contributions to the franchise. To be fair, recent years have seen the selections of Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich, but there was a time when Chris Volstad and Chris Coghlan looked like they would be important players for years to come, nothing is certain.

Regardless, the question that keeps coming up with regards to the dismissal of Beinfest is "Why now?" His draft record was no secret, and he has missed far more often than not on big trades before last seasons' fire sale. In all likelihood, Beinfest forced this on himself by reportedly asking Loria to either fire him or let him resume running the team without interference, and Loria (for once) did the right thing and bought out the final two years of Beinfest's contract.

So Beinfest will earn the remainder of his salary for two years, and will probably be courted by a number of clubs this winter (should he choose not to take some time off). Hill and Jennings got promotions, but I can't escape the feeling that Beinfest himself is the biggest winner of this episode.


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