Edwin Rodriguez’s surprising resignation Sunday brings an end to another pretty forgettable managerial tenure in Florida. In 163 games after taking over for Fredi Gonzalez, he went 78-85, and he exits with the Marlins in last place in the NL East at 32-39 this year.
If Rodriguez hadn’t resigned, he may well have been fired soon. It never appeared as though the Marlins had a lot of faith in him, even though they chose to stick with him after interviewing other candidates in the offseason.
Rodriguez, though, did a pretty good job with the Marlins on the field. He was a clear upgrade from Gonzalez there, especially in the way that he ran his bullpen. Gonzalez was all about putting guys in roles and leaving them there until being left with no other choice. Rodriguez was much more proactive. He rode his hot hands in the pen without wearing guys out.
The lineup was the same deal. Gonzalez thought Jorge Cantu was an RBI guy, so he batted him cleanup and let him so often bring the offense to a screeching halt. Rodriguez entered the season planning to use Mike Stanton as a cleanup man, but he showed flexibility when Gaby Sanchez turned in his strong spring. He made lemonade out of lemons by giving Greg Dobbs a crack at the third-base job.
In the end, Rodriguez was undone by the hand he was dealt. There was no anticipating Hanley Ramirez’s horrible season. Plus, Josh Johnson’s injury had taken a toll this month. A bigger problem that won’t get so much attention was that the Marlins had been without their sixth and seventh starters all year. With Alex Sanabia and Sean West sidelined due to arm problems, they had no one to step in for Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad, both of whom are sporting ERAs over 6.00.
So now Rodriguez is gone. And spared from the stress of working for Jeff Loria. It’s too bad that he probably won’t be so quick to have another opportunity fall into his lap like Gonzalez did with the Braves. He was an upgrade in the manager’s seat for the Marlins.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.