SBD/September 30, 2013/Franchises

Marlins Promote Hill, Jennings After Firing Beinfest; Samson Set To Keep His Job

Speculation over Beinfest's departure had been building for over a year
The Marlins yesterday promoted VP & GM Michael Hill and VP/Player Development & Assistant GM Dan Jennings after Larry Beinfest was fired Friday, but team Owner Jeffrey Loria said that there "would be no further changes in the team’s senior executive team, which means team president David Samson remains in his position," according to Clark Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. Hill becomes President of Baseball Operations, succeeding Beinfest, and Jennings becomes GM. Loria "announced the changes in a written statement but did not attend the introductory news conference" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/30). In Ft. Lauderdale, Juan Rodriguez reports among the first things Hill and Jennings addressed in their press conference was Loria's "involvement in the baseball operation." Beinfest's relationship with Loria "deteriorated as the owner began making more unilateral baseball decisions." Hill, who has been with the Marlins for 11 seasons, said of Loria, "He is a part of the process, but how we are set up it is my job and Dan’s job and the people who we work with to formulate the plan. That will be how we move forward. We present it to him and as any owner should he has the right to ask questions and we’ll educate him on whatever it is we want to do. I don’t think that’s different from how things operate anywhere else" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/30). Jennings said of media reports on Loria's involvement in the team, "There’s been an absence of truth to a lot of things that have been written. I don’t think there’s a single general manager or team president who has complete autonomy. Jeffrey has been on every call. He has done a tremendous job asking questions and wanting to know how and why and what. It holds us accountable" (PALM BEACH POST, 9/30).

THIS HAS BEEN COMING: The HERALD's Spencer noted Beinfest's removal "followed more than a year of speculation" that such a move might happen. Though Beinfest "had two years remaining on his contract, the move was not unexpected." Loria "contemplated firing Beinfest a year ago, and Friday’s announcement came amid widespread reports that Loria had seized control of nearly all baseball decisions." Sources have said Loria's moves were "marginalizing" the front office in the process. Loria on Friday also "dismissed Jim Fleming, who was Beinfest’s special assistant and also had two years remaining on his contract." Beinfest had worked under Loria since '01 when both were with the Expos. Beinfest has a "strong reputation throughout the industry and will likely be considered" for any GM openings that occur (MIAMI HERALD, 9/28). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote Friday's firings were the latest "in a long line of dumb Marlins chapters." Beinfest was "fired mainly because of his deteriorated relationship with Loria." Hyde: "That's the sum of it. This had been building for a while. ... It's not the meddling. It's the mismanagement. Payrolls double one year, then go back two-thirds the next. Four managers in three years. The only constants on the baseball side are Loria and losing" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/28). The L.A. Times' Bill Shaikin wrote, "Beinfest is renowned for acquiring and developing pitching on a budget, just what #Angels need. He's an LA guy. [Angels GM Jerry] Dipoto in [Angels Owner Arte Moreno] limbo" (TWITTER.com, 9/27).

ATTENDANCE EVALUATION: In Miami, Douglas Hanks notes Marlins Park is ending '13 "with an average attendance of 19,584 spectators per game," compared to "an average of 27,500 for its debut season last year and 18,500 during the team’s final three years at Sun Life." Marlins Park with its 28.5% drop from '12 will "finish the year with one of the worst declines in attendance for a new stadium" since at least the '80s (MIAMI HERALD, 9/30).
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