Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria fired back at Fredi Gonzalez. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Miami Marlins' underwhelming makeover season has featured an under-performing, highly paid roster and internal rumblings. Rumors of manager Ozzie Guillen and/or president Larry Beinfest taking the fall have surrounded the languishing team as it finishes out the 2012 schedule. Now Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is defending his management style following comments from one of many former managers.
Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Miami Herald that the owner will never be totally pleased with a manager:
"There's not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone."
Loria has had five since 2006, including two that went on to win a lot elsewhere: the Yankees' Joe Girardi (78-84 with the Marlins, 470-327 with the Yankees) and Gonzalez (276-279 with the Marlins, 175-137 with the Braves).
The lesson Loria should learn here? "Stick with someone," Gonzalez said. "Give guys opportunities. But he likes to make changes. As long as he owns the team, he makes the decisions. In his mind, they're the right ones."
Loria fired back at Gonzalez on Sunday:
Loria said that if Gonzalez made those comments, “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.”
In a text message Sunday night, Gonzalez indicated he stood by his comments.
Lower-than-expected attendance in the team's new Little Havana stadium apparently will lead Loria to roll back on last year's franchise-record $95 million payroll. Sources told the Miami Herald to expect a roster "somewhere in the $70 million to $80 million range."
The Marlins already have 2013 salary commitments of $65.5 million for eight players: Josh Johnson ($13.75 million), Mark Buehrle ($12 million), Ricky Nolasco ($11.5 million), Jose Reyes ($10 million), Heath Bell ($9 million), John Buck ($6.5 million), Greg Dobbs ($1.6 million) and Jacob Turner ($1.175 million).