“Ownership™s expectation of playoff qualification is unreasonable. It invites the prospect of a decent season ” say, 87-75 again ” being considered a failure. It amounts to ownership™s implication that it has done everything possible to produce a good product, so any disappointment in performance is solely the players™ fault.”

So opined The Palm Beach Post’s Greg Stoda this past April upon hearing Marlins fraudster owner Jeffrey Loria declare the 2010 playoffs a reasonable target for his bargain basement Florida franchise. Of course, “disappointment in performance” can more easily be expressed in terminating the manager, especially one who is on the wrong side of the owner’s pet. And with that, Loria announced the firing of Fredi Gonzalez (above) earlier today, a 36-38 record deemed justification despite Florida’s competition in the NL East being much improved this season, Philly aside.

While Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra notes “the Miami-Dade government is giving Loria a cash cow of a new stadium despite the fact that his commitment to winning is wholly suspect”, it’s not too early to wonder where Gonzalez might surface, particularly if there are managerial vacancies in Arizona, Seattle or Chicago next winter.