There’s a heavily favored, slumping Eastern Division club that spent prodigously on free agents in the off-season, and their asshole owner is speaking out. Sound familar? From the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer.
While his voice wasn’t threatening in tone, owner Jeffrey Loria made it clear he won’t sit benignly after watching the foundering Marlins lose Sunday for the 10th time in their past 12 games and fall from first to last in the NL East in the past 72 hours.
Asked if personnel changes are forthcoming, Loria replied: “There’ll be some things happening, but we’ll have to figure it out. I’m sure that the baseball people are looking at what we need to be doing, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it.”
Loria didn’t specify whether alterations would involve players or coaches, but after the Washington Nationals completed a series sweep of the Marlins with a 6-3 victory at RFK Stadium, he indicated with careful wording that changes likely are in store.
That could mean any number of things, but the primary focus seemed to center on the team’s dysfunctional offense. Though the Marlins rank close to the top of National League teams in batting average, the hits aren’t coming when they count. The Marlins out-hit the Nationals 33-24 during the weekend. But they ended up stranding 35 runners — 14 on Saturday and a dozen Sunday.
”Thirty-three hits and 35 men left on base ain’t going to get it done,” said manager Jack McKeon, who has repeatedly, and vainly, tinkered with the lineup, trying to find one that functions.
“We’ve been doing this for two years.”
Loria sank a franchise-record $65 million into the team’s roster and surprised many when he secured free-agent slugger Carlos Delgado during the winter. But the Marlins, a preseason choice by baseball insiders to contend for a third World Series title, are flailing so miserably that Delgado himself called a players-only meeting before Sunday’s game.
That followed another closed-door meeting after Saturday’s loss in which McKeon ripped into players.
A hot tip for Loria : see if MLB will let you swap the Marlins — a team that plays in a bad ballpark, a market that isn’t baseball crazy — for another in a more thriving environment. Say, the Washington Nationals.