humanity huge Manatees!
Fortunately, Fredi Gonzalez will live to make lemonade another day. Sources are confirming that Loria has -- in an apparent bow to a disgusted fan base and media -- abandoned his plans to hire retread nothing man Bobby Valentine and fire the manager that just led the lowest payroll in baseball to its third-most winning season in franchise history.
The only two Marlins squads to perform better each won a World Series. So, yes, it's disappointing that the Marlins didn't reach the playoffs this year, but it was a darn miracle they were even in the picture. They featured one of baseball's best pitchers, Josh Johnson, an MVP contender in Hanley Ramirez, a rookie of the year option in Chris Coghlan, and a supporting cast straight off the clearance rack.
And they almost pulled it off.
But where the Marlins were handicapped, they have Loria, not Gonzalez, to blame. Loria, who got the team essentially for free and receives enough money from television deals and revenue sharing to increase the $35 million payroll, refuses to do so and whittles away valuable players each year to keep the lowest possible bottom line.
That he should expect the cheapest roster to make the playoffs is nothing short of ridiculous, and the staff that manages to keep the franchise respectable in spite of bad ownership deserves better.
Loria, not Gonzalez, is why more than one position served as a hellmouth to and from the minor leagues. Loria, not Gonzalez, is why Graham Taylor and John Koronka were shoring up the rotation. It's also not Gonzalez' fault that Jeremy Hermida just isn't good enough or that he was forced to open the season with an unready Cameron Maybin in the outfield, or that he didn't have anyone who could replace Nick Johnson when he was injured late in the season.
Gonzalez was stuck starting Emilio Bonifacio for most of the season and given half a rotation and little bullpen.
No, the Marlins' issues could be solved with a few upgrades, and Loria has the resources but not the will to provide them.
Whose fault is that?
Please, Mr. Loria: go build your spaceship and leave the baseball to people who understand how it works.