Edwin Rodriguez is starting to feel some heat with the Marlins tied for last place in the NL East at 32-36 after losing 13 of 14 games to begin June, but today Hanley Ramirez made it very clear that he’s in the manager’s corner.
Ramirez, who just returned from a stint on the disabled list and has hit just .206 while battling back problems, told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com that Rodriguez “is a pretty good guy and a pretty good manager … he’s smart.”
Here’s a little more from Ramirez, who’s expected to sit out day games following night games for the next two weeks:
I’m on his side. I’ve got his back, till the death, man. Everything he is doing is good for the team. I’m never complaining about anything he does. When the team wins, everybody wants to give credit to the players. When we don’t, everybody wants [to blame] the manager. That’s not the way it is.
I’m on his side. Whatever he wants to do, I’m all for. He’s the best guy we ever had here. He lets you play. We’re going through things where everything is going bad right now. But he’s there for you.
Ramirez is right, of course. His being hurt and ineffective along with Josh Johnson being on the disabled list for the past month has cost the Marlins more runs and more wins than anything tactical Rodriguez could possibly do.
On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily mean Rodriguez has done a good job and, even if he has, the Marlins fired Joe Girardi after he won Manager of the Year, canned Fredi Gonzalez following back-to-back winning seasons, and have never stuck with a manager for more than four seasons in their entire history.
Last week they fired hitting coach John Mallee and this afternoon Rodriguez held a team meeting before facing the Phillies, so the seat is definitely warming up.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.