The other day, as the Marlins worked to actively undermine General Manager turned Manager turned General Manager turned Guy Without A Role Dan Jennings, marginalizing him in the organizational hierarchy and bringing in Don Mattingly without consulting him, someone asked me why he didn't just quit. Clearly, whatever Jeffrey Loria's cabal had planned for him was going to make him miserable.
I could think of a few good reasons. One of them is that, with only 30 General Manager positions available, and none of them available (at that time), he would have had to take a lesser role elsewhere. And he would be doing that at a time when his value was at an all-time low. Moreover, the Marlins still owed him $5.6 million, and given that he presumably has a family and a mortgage and roots in Miami, walking away from that would be irresponsible.
And the third reason was that, frankly, it was pretty clear that he was going to be fired. Despite their lip service about wanting to keep Jennings in the fold, it was incredibly clear that Loria, David Samson, and the rest of the dysfunctional "leadership" team the Marlins have cobbled together didn't want him there anymore. They are liars, and they lied; this is not a surprise. Frankly, it was the outcome that you could have predicted when Loria first made Jennings into the Manager in May.
Getting fired is the best thing that could possibly happen to Dan Jennings. He gets to keep the money, and he gets to look for a job with an organization that isn't a laughingstock.
Now Michael Hill will take over as the decision maker, with Mattingly in the dugout. But you know what? It doesn't matter. It literally doesn't matter who the Marlins have as their manager and who they have as their general manager.
All that matters is who owns the Marlins. And that owner, Jeffrey Loria, continues to be a parody of bad sports owners. According to Bob Nightengale, Loria's relationship with Jennings was fractured when the latter played rookie center fielder Marcell Ozuna over his boss's objections. This would be the same Marcell Ozuna who hit .278/.320/.469 over the second half of the season. But that Jennings was right didn't matter. What matters is that, after years of loyal service, he refused to listen to Loria one time.
Jeffrey Loria seems bound and determined to view his managers as adversaries. What could have been a simple disagreement over one rookie's playing time wound up being taken as a betrayal. As Darth Vader turning against the Emperor. And before he could be tossed down an inexplicably deep artificial chasm (as though Jennings somehow had the power to make Loria's life difficult, instead of the other way around), the Emperor decided he needed to fight back.
God help Don Mattingly, who is going to have to deal with this nonsense for at least two years before he too is fired. Because the Marlins will always be stuck with Jeffrey Loria at the helm. He will always find a way to ruin them and to make them an embarrassment to the league. The club will have had seven managers in its last seven seasons, and Loria will still be paying three of them (having just gotten out from under Ozzie Guillen's contract). They have not been above .500 in six seasons, and haven't won more than 90 games since Loria's first season as owner. They have finished last or second-to-last in attendance every year since then because fans have been given little to get excited about. The term "dumpster fire" doesn't come close to describing it.
Now that stink won't have to rub off on Dan Jennings any more. By all accounts, he's a good and loyal baseball man who has made some pretty good decisions running a team when the handcuffs are removed. He will find work again, and probably soon. Ultimately, by getting Jennings away from him, Jeffrey Loria did the nicest thing he's ever done for anybody.