Larry Beinfest was hired as the Marlins’ general manager when Jeffrey Loria took over as owner in 2002 and was later promoted to president of baseball operations, but after an offseason spending spree followed by a disappointing season he’s reportedly on the way out.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today spoke to “two high-ranking executives” who say the Marlins “are planning to fire Beinfest … perhaps as early as next week.”
According to Nightengale the Marlins will promote assistant general Dan Jennings to replace him. Meanwhile, he writes that manager Ozzie Guillen is expected to keep his job with three years remaining on a $10 million contract.
Under Beinfest the Marlins won the World Series in 2003 and, despite frequently having one of the league’s lowest payrolls until now, have had winning seasons in five of his 11 years. However, the team’s last winning season came in 2009 and it’s no surprise that someone is taking the fall for the free-spending offseason likely leading to 90-plus losses moving into the new ballpark.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.