The Florida Marlins turned heads this morning when they fired Fredi Gonzalez, but upon closer inspection, maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise after all.
Buster Olney tweets that the Marlins had been planning to fire Gonzalez for a while, actually, but that the whole Hanley Ramirez thing put a kink in it. I mean, sure, Jeff Loria isn’t exactly a master of public relations, but apparently even he realized that firing your manager the second he gets tough on a player who everyone is excoriating for dogging it is not exactly the kind of thing you want to be doing.
Then you have to think back to last winter when, despite the fact that the Marlins had out-performed expectations and despite the fact that Gonzalez was under contract for two more years, Jeff Loria pushed hard for Bobby Valentine all the same. That’s just not a sign that your boss wants you around, ya know?
Above all else, though were those expectation. Last winter Loria said “I expect us to make the playoffs.” That’s either supreme delusion or the kiss of death.
Of course with Loria, it could be both.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.