|Can he right the Marlins' ship?|
I'm sure McKeon has heard the jokes about his age and ability to lead the super-young Marlins, but the problems in Florida go way beyond anything even he can fix. The product on the field should get better, though, under his watch.
The short of it is this: Marlins upper management stinks. Owner Jeffrey Loria and staff may be good at trading veterans and rebuilding with prospects, but its ability to adorn themselves to the fan base is lacking. Jeff Passan's latest article from Yahoo Sports writes a great article that lends credence to this assertion.
During Bobby Cox's farewell tour last season, every team but one honored him for his outstanding career. Who didn't? You guessed it, the Marlins. Why? When the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of last season, Cox spoke out against the move and it hurt Loria's feelings. By the way Mr. Loria, Braves Nation, myself included, would like to take this moment to thank you for firing Gonzalez. He's doing a fine job now that he has some resources at his disposal (Braves are 10 games over .500 now.) Keep in mind Loria backed shortstop Hanley Ramirez over Gonzalez when Gonzalez benched him last summer for loafing after he kicked a ball down the left field line while the other team circled the bases.
Loria also fired Joe Girardi after one season in 2006, when Girardi took issue with Loria's personnel decisions and overall management of the franchise. Girardi has since won a World Series as manager of the New York Yankees, and is in position to win more titles there. Not bad for a "Marlins castoff."
Not only has Loria and stepson/president Dave Samson had issues with managers, but players as well. Recently, Loria tried to place a gag order on outfielder Logan Morrison after some of his tweets were deemed too blunt. According to Passan's article, president Samson has been keen on threatening slumping players with a trip back to the minors if they didn't start producing. That will make them want to play hard for you!
Amidst all this controversy, the Marlins are set to open a brand new, retractable roof stadium next season. According to Deadspin, the Marlins brass hosed Miami-Dade commissioners into paying the majority of the cost of the stadium with taxpayer dollars, while Loria continues to line his pockets with revenue-shared dollars, MLB's version of welfare. Bud Selig had to issue an edict a couple years back to revenue sharing recipients that said they needed to spend their monies on their teams, not pocket the checks. It was obvious that Loria was one of the owners in the cross hairs of Selig's ire, as soon after, he signed Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez to long-term deals.
As Jack McKeon returns to Miami, the Marlins have many more problems than their 2-19 record in June. I have little doubt that McKeon will motivate the players and will lead them to plenty of victories. Luckily for "Trader Jack," this is most likely a one year gig. Then, Loria and crew will christen the new park and hire "their guy" as the new manager. I wonder how long he will last.