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Will Don Mattingly have the time to turn Marlins into winners?

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With the first two games of the World Series in the books, the annual baseball manager shuffle intensified late this week. The practice of hiring “retreads,” or managers fired in one place only to wind up in another, is alive and well.

San Diego, disrupted that pattern this week by hiring Arizona Diamondbacks’ third base coach Andy Green. Green replaces the fired Bud Black, who takes over in Washington.

The Nationals fired Matt Williams shortly after a monstrously disappointing season concluded. No word yet on where Williams, the 2014 Manager of the Year, might wind up.

On Friday, the Miami Marlins hired former Los Angeles Dodgers’ Manager Don Mattingly. “Donnie Baseball” and the Dodgers parted ways “amicably” earlier this month, so they say.

The Marlins have been on the market for a full-time skipper since firing Mike Redmond on May 17. General Manager Dan Jennings took off his tie and put on spikes to run things from the dugout for the rest of the season.

After Miami finished 71-91, Jennings was let go on October 6. After that left hook, the Marlins gave Jennings the right cross by firing him from his GM position on Thursday.

“Even for Jeffrey Loria, Miami’s notorious manager-firer, this is an accomplishment,” wrote Mike Oz at Big League Stew.

Mattingly must know he is on a short leash. He is the 10th Marlins’ manager since Loria took control of the team in 2002. He has a four year-contract that calls for him to get paid for 48 months, not necessarily manage the team that long.

If the Marlins’ young talent comes together and makes the post season in a relatively short time, he could be around longer. Mattingly would probably still be in Los Angeles if the Dodgers’ $300 million payroll had translated into at least one appearance in a World Series during his tenure.

Mattingly will reunite with former Dodger Dee Gordon, with whom the former worked extensively with the struggling Gordon’s hitting stroke. “The Hit Man” deserves some of the credit for Gordon’s development as a hitter. Gordon heads into the 2015 season as the reigning National League batting and stolen base champion.

Outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich are two of the game’s youngest developing stars. Pitcher Jose Fernandez, when not on the disabled list, can duel with guys like Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, Mattingly’s two studs while in Los Angeles.

Can Mattingly get more out of these and other young players in Miami than he did with veteran talent in Los Angeles? The betting line is he has two years, at the absolute maximum, to have Miami playing baseball at least into mid-October.

Can he make the Marlins more competitive against the Rays? Since Tampa Bay purged the Devil and became the Rays in 2008, the Marlins have won only 14 of the 44 games played. The Rays have won 51 of the 99 games played in the history intrastate series.

See you at The Trop on May 25, Donnie Baseball.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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