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3 posts from October 2015

October 29, 2015

Marlins, Mattingly have reportedly reached deal, which won't be formally announced until after World Series

According to Vice Sports, the Marlins have hired former Dodgers manager and Yankees great Don
Mattingly to be their next manager.

Citing a source, the news outlet said Mattingly's deal is for four years, making him the
club's eighth manager since 2010. The announcement isn't expected to be made until after the
World Series, per baseball's policy to keep all the attention on the Fall Classic during this
time of year.

During his five seasons in Los Angeles, Mattingly guided the Dodgers to a 446-363 record (.551
winning percentage) and led the team to three consecutive division titles.

Of course, Mattingly also had the benefit of managing the highest paid team in baseball
($272.7 million in 2015) each of the last two seasons. The Marlins were dead last in payroll
($68.5 million) last season.

Reached by text, a Marlins spokesman said he could not confirm or deny the report. 

October 04, 2015

Batting race coming down to the decimal between Gordon and Harper

PHILADELPHIA -- Barring a closing-day no-hitter for a third straight year, the only drama involving the Marlins as they close out the season will be the battle between Dee Gordon and Washington's Bryce Harper for the NL batting title.

It could not be any closer: Harper leads Gordon, .3307 to .3306. That's right. It's down to 1/10,000th of a point. And decimals count -- even beyond the third number on the right side of the point -- when it comes to deciding a champion.

If Wikipedia is to be trusted, here's what it has to say about close batting title races in the past:

The closest finish in a batting race came in 1945 when Snuffy Stirnweiss batted .309, topping Tony Cuccinello's .308 average for the American League title by .00008.[21][22] George Kell beat out Williams in 1949 by .00015.[21] The closest race in the National League came in 2003 when Albert Pujols held off Todd Helton on the last day of the season by .00022.[21][23] The closest National League race before that was in 1931 with Chick Hafey edging out Bill Terry by .00028.[21]

What makes this race especially interesting is that all MLB games today are starting at the same time. So it could create for some interesting strategy. Say Gordon bangs out hits in each of his first three at bats and Harper is 0 for 3. Does Marlins manager Dan Jennings  take out Gordon to ensure the title for the second baseman? Does Nationals manager Matt Williams do the same if the scenario is reversed?

The Phillies are sending Dave Buchanan to the mound. Gordon has gone 2 for 6 against Buchanan. Harper will be facing the Mets' Jacob deGrom. Harper has gone 6 for 17 against deGrom. Advantage Harper.

So sit back and enjoy. But keep a calculator handy. 

October 03, 2015

There's major change afoot in the Marlins' front office

PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Hill is expected to remain the Marlins’ president of baseball operations. But beneath him, the front office is being restructured, with Mike Berger and Jeff McAvoy assuming greater power and Dan Jennings’ future with the team in limbo.

Jennings, who stepped down as general manager in May to take over as manager when Mike Redmond was fired, will manage his final game Sunday and has been invited back to the front office.

But he is mulling that decision, sources said, due to reservations he has concerning his new role, and whether he would retain the same decision-making power he had before moving to the dugout.

"I want to have a conversation with the powers that be and thus determine what’s going to be in the best interest of the organization," Jennings said Saturday. "From a standpoint of if I'm asked to go back upstairs, then there are conversations that are going to have to take place because I want to understand where things are, because I've been removed for 4 1/2 months. There's catch-up that I have to be involved in and conversations that need to take place so that I'm up to speed as to how things have evolved in the front office."

Jennings' relationship with owner Jeffrey Loria has become strained since becoming manager. Sources said he has already been involved in several internal meetings about the new power structure.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported Saturday that Berger would assume a “GM-like role.” And Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com reported that the Marlins have spoken to Tampa Bay Rays director of player personnel Matt Arnold about a front office job.

The Marlins are expected to address the front office restructuring early next week.

They have already begun interviewing managerial candidates. Manny Acta and Bo Porter have already interviewed, and the Marlins are expected to bring in more candidates.