MIAMI — Marlins President David Samson, on hand at Marlins Park to introduce the Miami Beach Bowl with representatives from the American Athletic Conference, also spoke about a promising baseball future in South Florida.
A month ago, the Marlins dismissed president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest after losing 100 games for the second time in their 20-year history. Miami hasn’t made the postseason since 2003, when it won its second World Series in seven seasons.
Michael Hill, who has been with the franchise for 11 years, took over Beinfest’s position. Dan Jennings, a 12-year member of the organization, was named general manager. The pair came up in the Tampa Bay system.
“The changes that were made at the end of the season were unfortunate,” Samson said. “I’ve worked with Larry for 14 years. I respect every decision that’s made by the ownership, and the fact of the matter is we’re all paid to win games, and the last few years we have not won enough games.
“Do I lay it all on Larry? No, of course not. I lay it on all of us. We are all responsible for what happened. What I hope our fans are realizing is they don’t have to worry about the ballpark anymore because we have one. They don’t have to worry about the Marlins relocating or anything like that because they’re here to stay. Now we’re after winning more games.
“Mike Hill and Dan Jennings are really tremendous heads of baseball organizations, and they’re going to work really well together to help us win. If our fans were with us in the second half watching games …. They saw some talent.”
Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, acquired in the blockbuster trade with Toronto last offseason, pitched a no-hitter on the final game of the season. As a team, the Marlins rebounded from a historically bad start in the season’s first two months to go 48-59 the rest of the way.
According to Samson, spring training will begin Feb. 16, when pitchers and catchers report.
“We want to get out there and get going,” Samson said. “We’re getting ready for another season, and we’re going to win more. I promise you this: We’re not going to lose 100 games next year. Not close.”
Samson believes the Marlins can make a quick turnaround, citing the Boston Red Sox’s reversal of fortune from 93 losses and last place in the American League East in 2012 to a World Series appearance this season.
Asked by a reporter whether he hears what critics say about how the team trades talent, Samson said he does but disagrees, mentioning how Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and the starting rotation stuck around for several years.
Samson also brought up slugger Giancarlo Stanton, National League Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Fernandez and top prospect Christian Yelich as members of the new group of youngsters that could lead the Marlins back to postseason play.
“We had a great core together from 2006-12 and just couldn’t make the playoffs, so it wasn’t great enough,” Samson said. “Now we’ve rebooted, started again, and we’ve got this core and we’re going to be with them for a lot of years.
“With our new core I expect we will have several appearances as one of 10 teams.”