Edwin Rodriguez is the right man to navigate the Marlins for this upcoming season. Flying under the radar, the expectations outside of the Marlins front office and clubhouse may not be high. This team is going to have a strong sense of self and a vision that will guide them to success this upcoming season.
Let’s face it, no one – and I mean no one – picked the San Francisco Giants to win the title this year. In a year where there were so many feel-good stories, it was the Giants’ that trumped them all. They did it with the basics – pitching and defense. In fact, they got a Marlin to provide a boost (we’re looking at you, Cody Ross – and your strange beard).
Can Edwin Rodriguez make the same tactical decisions game in and game out that are required to steer this team to the playoffs? You bet. One key problem was the bullpen – the Marlins have to improve it to realistically expect to improve in the win column. Rodriguez managed the club pretty well and got them to the later innings on most nights with a chance to win. Continuously going to Leo Nunez, however, was a problem but one that Rodriguez had little choice in doing.
Rodriguez is the right man for this job because he knows this team – he has coached most of them on their way up to the parent club. Take Mike Stanton for instance:
“I’ve been watching Michael Stanton since he was in rookie ball, and every year, I mean, you can tell, he’s just getting better and better, and making big strides. And I think that we are going to have a chance to see Michael Stanton during spring training, and the improvement that he’s going to make from one year to another is going to be huge. I’m sure that right now in the off-season, he’s working on every detail of the game, especially on the offensive side. I’m very confident that Michael Stanton is going to be able to make the adjustment and stay in the cleanup spot.”
You’ve got to like a guy who addresses his players with their full, proper name. Rodriguez demonstrates a key point – he knows these players and has their trust. He is breaking them into the majors while he himself is also breaking in. The Marlins may have made this move as a calculated measure to get Ozzie Guillen after this season, but they didn’t just settle for someone to manage this team – they turned it over to someone they trusted and who knows these players.
So, when both the season and the nightly battles drag on, Rodriguez will be there to gauge how his young team is performing.
“It’s my job to make sure every player knows that we expect a lot from them. Not only as individual players, but also as a team. And my job is going to be to enforce that, to make sure that they develop some accountability…”
There is nothing like starting a season with your program in place and finding players to fit those holes you are trying to fill. It will be Edwin Rodriguez who will ultimately make the decision to play players. It will be up to him to decide if a player is working out or not. Take Matt Dominguez, who hasn’t passed AA ball yet, but is being forecasted as having the defensive tools to be a big leaguer. Rodriguez has experience getting the message to young players about what their role is and getting them mentally ready to play every night. Dominguez is going to need a system to live within, some stability and more importantly, some feedback about how he is performing with some realistic goals.
Rodriguez’s experience handling young players will come into play as this young Marlins team looks to develop its winning ways. They couldn’t have picked a better guy to manage this team at this point.