Did the Miami Marlins Make a Mistake Firing Mike Redmond?
Immediately following the Miami Marlins’ 6-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves, a game where they were no-hit for 8 2/3 innings, their manager Mike Redmond was fired. This was Redmond’s third season at the helm, having overseen the first two years of the Marlins’ rebuild. However, Miami had high hopes for this season and rumors about Redmond’s firing began swirling when the team started the year 3-11. After climbing back to .500 at 12-12, the Fish won just four of their next fourteen games and Redmond was gone. But did the Marlins make the right decision firing Redmond this early in the season?
First, take a look at the Marlins’ Pythagorean expected wins and losses. This is a formula designed by Bill James to estimate how many games a team should have won based on the team’s runs scored and runs allowed. Through 38 games, the Fish have scored 151 runs and allowed 159, which translates to an expected record of 18-20, rather than the Marlins’ real record of 16-22. According to this formula, Miami has been an unlucky team so far this season.
Next, look at how the core players of the Marlins have performed. The team signed Giancarlo Stanton to a massive contract this offseason, extended Christian Yelich, and added players such as Michael Morse and Martin Prado to round out the infield.
Stanton has been solid this season, but his OPS+ of 132 through 38 games is the third lowest of his career other than his rookie season and Miami’s 100-loss season in 2013. After shelling out $352 million to him, the Marlins were surely expecting better production.
Christian Yelich has played only 19 games this year after spending weeks on the disabled list. Even when he did play, Yelich hit .178/.268/.233. After winning a Gold Glove award last season and hitting for an OPS+ of 112 and 114 his first two years as a Marlin, Yelich will turn it around soon.
As for the new additions to the team, both Morse and Prado have been horrible. Prado has a respectable batting average at .270, but with an on-base percentage of .310 and an OPS+ of just 70, he has not been producing at his career rate and does not belong at the top of any order. As for Morse, although he’s been healthy, he’s hitting just .210 with two home runs so far and could lose his starting position to Justin Bour soon, who’s batting .440 in 25 at-bats this season.
These four core players have severely underachieved, but that cannot be pinned on the manager. Perhaps if they were given more than 38 games to contribute, the players would get back to their career averages and Redmond would still be managing.
Next, the Marlins’ starting rotation has underachieved, and the bullpen has been atrocious. Currently, David Phelps and Dan Haren lead the team in ERA+, which is certainly not a good thing. Henderson Alvarez, last year’s ace when Jose Fernandez went down, has been on the disabled list for weeks, Mat Latos has pitched very poorly, to the tune of a 5.54 ERA, and both Jarred Cosart and Tom Koehler have ERA’s of 4.08 or higher and an ERA+ of 99 and 94, respectively.
The bullpen, led by Steve Cishek, has been one of the worst in baseball. After registering 73 saves the past two seasons, Cishek blew four of his seven chances this season, owns an ERA of 8.78, and was removed from the role. Relievers AJ Ramos and Sam Dyson have been solid in the ‘pen, but Mike Dunn’s ERA of 4.50 and Bryan Morris’ of 4.42 won’t get the job done at the end of games.
Finally, the expectations from inside the Marlins’ organization were way too high. Our algorithms saw Miami as a 77-win squad in 2015. Also, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, odds-makers in Las Vegas, and others pegged Miami as about an 81-win team. However, inside the organization, many believed the Fish should make the playoffs, which would require at least 87 wins. As long as the team hung around or stayed a few games below .500 until Jose Fernandez returned, the realistic projections would be spot on.
Due to the lack of understanding and analytical ability in the front office and especially the lack of patience by owner Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins canned a manager who was meeting the credible expectations for this team. The team has missed three of its core players to injuries and currently trots out a long list of underachieving players, but Mike Redmond kept the Fish right near the .500 mark. For that reason, he should not have been fired. Once again, the Miami Marlins led by Loria, made a poor knee-jerk reaction.