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Marlins mangling manager moves

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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Fredi Gonzalez must be laughing his butt off.

The Marlins fired Gonzalez as manager last Wednesday with the idea of hiring Bobby Valentine. Depending upon whom you talk to, they are still talking to Valentine or no longer considering him.

At best, the Marlins are confused. At worst, they are in turmoil. Either way, they are an embarrassment.

I would not be the least surprised to see this saga twist and turn a few more times. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is a low-rent George Steinbrenner, and Valentine might be his Billy Martin, minus the drinking.

Both Loria and Valentine possess strong egos. Both are highly volatile. Their relationship goes back more than 20 years, and their plot to overthrow Gonzalez goes back to at least the end of last season.

One source says that something happened in the final discussions between Loria and Valentine — not a squabble over money or struggle over control, but a philosophical dispute.

Others, however, suggest that Loria is engaged in an internal power struggle with his stepson, club president David Samson, who is opposed to hiring Valentine.

If that’s the case, maybe Valentine wants no part of the Marlins, a development that would force the team to expand its search.

Laugh away, Fredi.

Bobby V is not exactly an unknown. His personality quirks and other warts are well-established, as is his managerial skill.

The Marlins surely understood the deal.

Imagine inviting Lady Gaga to a formal occasion and then being offended by her outrageous dress and behavior.

That’s what this is — and now the joke is on the Fish.

Before their impasse with Valentine, the Marlins were in the process of making a mockery of Commissioner Bud Selig’s guidelines for minority hiring.

They interviewed Edwin Rodriguez, their Puerto Rican-born interim manager. They interviewed Bo Porter, the Diamondbacks’ African-American third base coach.

They had no intention of hiring either. They just wanted to avoid getting fined for failing to interview minorities, the way they were after they hired Jack McKeon in 2003.

Rodriguez, 1-4 since taking over, inherits all of Gonzalez’s old problems — a weak bullpen, erratic defense and undisciplined offense, not to mention a dubious rotation beyond Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez.

The next manager, whoever it is, will be in just as difficult a spot, yet Loria will continue to bluster for a post-season appearance, claiming the Marlins have “all the ammunition” they need, despite their $57 million payroll.

Maybe Bobby V sees through Loria. Maybe Loria sees through Bobby V.

They are either getting divorced before getting married, or getting married before getting divorced.

Laugh away, Fredi. Laugh away.

Tagged: Marlins

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