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.