The Marlins recently announced the hiring of former Marlin Mike Redmond as their new manager. The fanfare was palpable, and the writing around the move was described generally as a pretty good move with a pin-ache of character. References were made to Redmond’s now infamous naked bout with batting practice that helped cure a team that would eventually propel itself to the 2003 World Series title. It was a team that drastically overachieved according to many viewpoints, and it is precisely this overachievement mentality that the Marlins are hoping to recapture.
In hiring Tino Martinez as their hitting coach, the Marlins are putting together the right culture to accomplish this. Martinez, a two time all star, played for the Mariners, the Yankees, the Cardinals, and the Devil-Rays (his hometown team). He collected 1,271 RBIs with 339 home runs over his strong career and put together a .271 average. Always the consummate professional, Tino Martinez will bring an excellent approach to the plate and help fix a team that only scored 609 runs last season with a .234 average with RISP. He also sports four World Series rings with his time playing for the Yankees and along with Mike Redmond, that is five championships.
It is not only the experience, but also accountability that Martinez will bring. It is one thing to take batting tips from a guy who never really had success in the majors, but another thing to get tips from a guy who has had sustained success over a 16 year career. If you want to create a team of “overachievers” you have to have the proper tools of assessment in place to know where player performance even stacks up in the first place. Then you need to hold them accountable for their performances and recognize the most efficient approach towards getting production on the field.
In Redmond, and now Martinez, the Marlins have the makings of a strong coaching staff that will institute a culture of accountability and professionalism – something this franchise has not really seen since the Girardi-led days back in 2006. Under Fredi Gonzalez, the Marlins had a mental disconnect with their coach and the two parties had to part ways – but Gonzalez has proven to be the more successful of the two visions as he has acclimated quickly into the Braves clubhouse and culture, filling in for the shadow of Bobby Cox.
The other test here is can the Marlins have a coaching staff that will be insulated from the mania of their owner who is prone to delusions of grandeur in his assessment of his own franchise. Martinez, who played under George Steinbrenner’s careful eye, knows what that is like and Redmond, who has played under Loria, both give this staff the correct perspective it will need in order to institute its program with the Marlins.