BALTIMORE -- Marlins President David Samson and President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest spoke with reporters for 20 minutes before the game here at Camden Yards. For the complete press conference, click on our audio link.
Samson's opening statement: "Today was a difficult day. I want to say from the outset that today's decision made by this organization, a decision that was made with me, Larry, [general manager] Mike [Hill] and [owner] Jeffrey [Loria], was based on nothing having to do with Hanley Ramirez and the situation that took place with Hanley earlier this season. As a management team we were completely supportive in terms with how that situation was handled. In addition, it had nothing to do with any lineup card issues that happened at all. This decision was made in an effort for this team to accomplish what we want it to accomplish going forward and our continued desire to become one of eight [playoff teams]. Any time a change like this is made, it's an adjustment for the players and the staff."
Samson on Fredi Gonzalez and why the Marlins decided to fire him today: "Fredi is a very, very good man and a good manager. We felt today was the right day to do it. There is no perfect day to do this. Whether you've won three of four lost eight of ten. Today was just the day we decided to do it."
Samson on the plan moving forward: "As far as going forward, Edwin [Rodriguez] is the interim manager. We are beginning and have begun today a search for the next manager. There will be internal candidates, there will be external candidates. Before any speculation goes forward, Bobby Valentine is a candidate for this position. He was spoken to by me today. I called him today and told him that Fredi had been dismissed and we were interested -- Larry, Mike and I -- in the very near future about opening in a managerial capacity".
"In addition, there are a list of candidates. The reason I addressed Bobby by name is because of the speculation that has been out there for so long. As president of this team, the search in our minds commenced today and the first contact I had with Bobby had today. The relationship Bobby and Jeffrey have had as friends is not relevant in our managerial search at all."
"As far as our expectations for the rest of this year, on the field and off the field, they do not change. We stood by our thought of making the playoffs and there's no question I feel very responsible today. That's why it's not a good day for me personally. Because I feel I've failed completely to date, on the field, off the field and it's something I take very seriously. It is a job that we all have to make this team better as we get ready to move into the new ballpark that's being built and when the performance isn't what our evaluators tell us it should be, then I take that responsibility along with Larry and Mike."
Samson was asked why firing Fredi was the answer: "We felt at this time, this was the proper move was to get a different voice. As far as our timeline, we are definitely active and we do not expect the interim tag to last very long. We will go through the search, we will have candidates, we will follow the commissioner's rules on interviewing 100 percent and we hope to have the interim situation resolved in the very near future.
"There is no perfect day, you just a get feeling that builds over time and just decide when you are trying to compete for a playoff spot and the clock turns to mid to late June, it's time to do it."
Samson on when was the decision made: "The final decision was made within the last couple of days and Larry and Mike were able to present a plan to me and Jeffrey that makes absolute sense. As far as Edwin, he's an important person in our organization, a baseball man that come in here and be seemless, knows the players and it would be a way for us not skip a beat.
Samson on what the Marlins are looking for in their next manager: "You want a manager who has the ability to lead our team. How do you react in certain situations? How do you interact with the front office? How do you lead 25 guys to where we want them to be?"
Samson on reaching out to Bobby Valentine: "He's an external candidate, one of the external candidates I had to reach out to. There will be more. We've been around enough and know enough people in this game. It will not have the deliberate pace maybe other managerial searches have had. We'd really like to have a permanent situation in place as soon as possible. We're confident in list we've put together, it has the type of people we're looking at."
Samson on the timetable for finding a permanent replacement: "We are being careful, but expedient. Before the All-Star break is a very fair thing to say."
Opening statement: "On our personal note, all of us a little bit, earned a warm relationship with Fredi and it made this extremely difficult decision. We also recognize there are some personnel challenges on this team. I'll echo what David said. We feel like we failed.
"It's not a reflection or Fredi or Carlos [Tosca] or Jim Presley if we did not give them the right personnel. We share that burden and it's been a difficult day for me. On the flip side of that, though, this team seems to be stuck in neutral and our competitors are on the accelerator. The Phillies, Mets and Braves are on the accelerator and we seem to be a little bit stuck. So we are looking at our personnel and a leadership change to hopefully get us on the accelerator and that's a big part of what we did today."
Beinfest on Fredi: "As far as Fredi's managerial skills and what he meant to this organization, he did a terrific job here. He will manage again in the big leagues and he deserves to manage in the big leagues. It's been a very difficult day. As we told the players it's time to move on and play baseball. We're going to do our job in the office to find the right mix of personnel and continue down that path. Edwin will lead us in this interim position, win ballgames and help us stay in this race."
Beinfest on whether Fredi is to blame for the bullpen woes: "There's no question I'm going to take responsibility for the bullpen. I don't think its a reflection on Fredi at all. It's definitely a personnel issue. This was just an overall decision to see if we can get this team clicking. We recognize the issues we have. We've been in the market looking for relievers and we'll continue to do so. We are fully aware with our eyes open of the challenges with personnel."
Beinfest on whether the change was made to save the season: "We want to try and get it going. We're a couple games under. I really got concerned and started speaking to David and Jeffrey after the Rangers series. Something was missing. We're at the ballpark every day and in tune with the team and you could just tell there was something missing there. Maybe we weren't going to get the engine going the way we needed to. That's really when we had concerns about pushing things along.
Beinfest on if previous MLB managerial experience will be important in the hiring process: "It's not [required] at all. We're looking for somebody to put it together and get these guys moving forward and playing at a level we think they're capable of playing at. We've moved very quickly already to put together a list and we're going to move very quickly in the next couple days.
Beinfest on how Fredi took the news: "He was very professional, very appreciative. Fredi sometimes is more concerned with everybody else. It was a very difficult meeting. He was very professional, gracious."
Beinfest on why hitting coach Jim Presley was also fired: "With these type of changes it's an opportunity to have a different voice. We have a different team, a few young guys who have a relationship with John Mallee. We thought where he could up and maybe move those relationships along quickly, the Stantons, the Gaby Sanchezes, people he's worked with in the minor leagues. We thought it was an opportunity to make a change."