Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison asserted what many Marlins fans were thinking when the team fired hitting coach John Mallee this week: team owner Jeffrey Loria made the decision to fire Mallee, and for he did so for reasons not entirely baseball-related.
Morrison said Thursday that Mallee's firing was a needless move that doesn't address the team's hitting problems. "It's definitely [the players'] fault and it starts with me... not getting the job done, and they felt that Mallee had to go," Morrison said.
And just to prove the point, the Marlins lost their eighth straight game Thursday night to the Braves.
Morrison also not-so-subtly accused Loria of making an end-around on team President Larry Beinfest and General Manager Michael Hill.
When asked if Loria made the call to fire Mallee, Morrison replied "Absolutely. 100 percent. You know it was. I'm sure he'll tell you that, too."
Morrison was especially upset because of Mallee's role in his own development as a hitter. "He got me to the big leagues," he said. I was a 22nd rounder for a reason. I made the big leagues for a reason. And he was in between that time."
Before joining the Marlins' coaching staff in 2010, Mallee had been a Minor League instructor who had tutored many of the team's young hitters, including Morrison and Mike Stanton.
For his part, Loria stuck to his rationale, that the firing was a response to the team's poor situational hitting (as if situational hitting can be taught). "No one [else] is on the hot seat," Loria said Thursday.
But manager Edwin Rodriguez understands exactly what is going on, though. He says all baseball coaches know that they are "just passing through," acknowledging that Loria can't exactly fire his players. "If we keep losing, I don't know what's going to happen," he added.
Though he did say "I don't worry about that," it was clear that Loria's message was received. If the team underperforms, someone will pay. Loria can say what he wants about the firing, but the subtext is clear.
David Hill is a Miami native and cofounder of Marlins Diehards, the only Florida Marlins blog with perspective on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom.