Do you need another reason to dislike Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria? Of course you do. On Tuesday, Loria apparently overrode manager Mike Redmond and switched starting pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Jose Fernandez in Miami's doubleheader with Minnesota. Loria wanted Fernandez to start the day game and Nolasco to start the night game.
Loria insisted Fernandez, the team's prized 20-year-old rookie, pitch in the first half of the doubleheader at frigid Target Field instead of the scheduled Nolasco because the day game was expected to be warmer. The temperature at Fernandez's first pitch (38 degrees) was actually colder than at the beginning of Nolasco's start (42 degrees).
Rookie manager Mike Redmond delivered the news to Nolasco about 2½ hours before the first game against the Minnesota Twins, and it did not go over well with him or his teammates. Standard protocol for doubleheaders is that veterans choose which game they want to pitch. Not only did Loria ignore that and further alienate Nolasco, the Marlins' highest-paid player who has previously requested a trade, he sabotaged Redmond less than 20 games into his managerial career.
This is a joke. Less than a month into Redmond's tenure as Marlins manager, he's already become Loria's puppet running the club. Nolasco, Miami's longest tenured and higher paid player, is getting disrespectced once again. Perhaps the best part of this is Loria's "warmer weather" logic, when in reality, the opposite actually ended up being true. For the record, Fernandez allowed four runs in five innings, the second straight bad start of his career, while Nolasco picked up his first win of the year for Miami in the nightcap.
It's really great that Jeffrey Loria cares so much about the team that he owns that he's fiddling with the on-field product a month into a season that's bound to be a complete disaster. You can't even use the logic behind his dismantling of the team last year to rationalize this decision. There's not one good thing on the field that could have come from Fernandez starting game one and Nolasco starting game two and finding out two and a half hours before the game.
If Fernandez ended up getting hurt in the earlier start for whatever reason, the few remaining Marlins fans probably would have ended up marching on Marlins Park with pitchforks in hand once news that it was Loria's decision to swap him and Nolasco leaked out.
UPDATE: Loria claims to be innocent in the whole matter, according to a report from Fox Sports.
“I had nothing to do with the decision,” Loria told FOXSports.com on Friday. “I was informed of the decision by the baseball department. I told them it was their call.
“I don’t make decisions on who to pitch and when, how to go about it – that’s not my role. Sometimes they call me and tell me what they’re doing. But I don’t call them up and say, ‘This is what is going to happen.’ That’s not true.”
This is just getting ridiculous now. So by "baseball department", is he throwing president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and GM Michael Hill under the bus while absolving himself and team president (and resident gopher) David Samson? What a dysfunctional organization.