Redmond is Marlins' choice to be manager
Former catcher, part of 2003 World Series winner, agrees to three-year deal
MIAMI -- The Marlins' search for a new manager ended where it started, with the hiring of Mike Redmond.
Redmond, who agreed to a three-year contract, was introduced at a news conference on Friday at Marlins Park.
The 41-year-old former big league catcher was the first to interview for the position that was vacated when Ozzie Guillen was dismissed on Oct. 23. Redmond sat down with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and members of the front office on Oct. 24 in New York.
Miami officials didn't comment on hiring Redmond on Thursday, but the day Guillen was let go, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest talked about returning the team to success.
"We need to find a way to reignite our winning culture," Beinfest said in an Oct. 23 conference call. "For a number of years here, even after we won the World Series, we found ways to overcome challenges and put winning ballclubs on the field. I think we got away from that a little bit. We need to get back that."
A catcher with the Marlins from 1998-2004, Redmond was Ivan Rodriguez's backup on the '03 World Series championship team.
"I think it's a great hire, really," said Jack McKeon, who managed Redmond in 2003-04. "I think you're getting a young guy in there who knows the organization. He's a very knowledgeable young man. He's very unselfish, and he was a dedicated player. I think he will do a good job."
In a 13-year playing career, Redmond was a .287 career hitter with 13 home runs and 243 RBIs. Redmond also played from 2005-09 with the Twins. His playing career ended in 2010 after he appeared in 22 games with the Indians.
Along with Redmond, the Marlins also interviewed Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, Larry Bowa and Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.
Marlins ace Josh Johnson broke into the big leagues in 2005, the season after Redmond left.
"Excited," Johnson said in a text message when asked about Redmond. "He's a great baseball mind, and he has a lot of fun with the game."
From the beginning, Redmond was considered a strong front-runner. Team officials were discussing him as a possibility in September.
Redmond will make the leap from managing Toronto's Class A Dunedin squad to the big leagues. He compiled a 155-115 record (.574) in two seasons as a Minor League manager. Redmond was the Midwest League Manager of the Year in 2011. This year, he managed Dunedin to a 78-55 record and a berth in the Florida State League playoffs, where the Blue Jays lost in the first round to eventual-champion Lakeland.
Although Redmond doesn't have any prior big league coaching experience, he has been considered managerial material since his playing days.
Hiring a manager without previous big league coaching experience is becoming a bit of a trend. The White Sox and Cardinals did so this season with great success.
Mike Matheny took over in St. Louis for Tony La Russa, and guided his team to the National League Championship Series. Chicago replaced Guillen with Robin Ventura, and the club challenged for the American League Central crown.
Some of the qualities the Marlins are looking for in their manager are leadership and intensity.
"I think it's a case of knowing the individual," said McKeon, who remains a special assistant with the Marlins. "In the case of Ventura, people knew what qualities he had. And it's the same thing with us about Redmond.
"He's a knowledgeable baseball guy. He's been around. He's had experience working around a lot of managers. I'm quite sure he's observed a lot from these guys. He's going to be his own man, of course."
The Marlins are looking for a fresh start, and Redmond offers a new perspective. They are coming off a disappointing 69-93 last-place finish in their first season as the Miami Marlins.
The team entered 2012 with plenty of fanfare, as it opened its new retractable-roof ballpark with high expectations.
But in Guillen's lone season, the Marlins weren't able to get any traction and become a serious contender. With a losing record and the season slipping away in July, the team traded Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica and Gaby Sanchez.
Guillen offered his congratulations to Redmond via Twitter: "Congrats Mike Redmond. Good luck, buddy. You have great guys going to play for you."
In 2013, the Marlins are expected to be younger. They will be looking for Redmond to assist in the development of a revamped roster.
Redmond now is in position to manage players that he previously went up against. Miami catcher John Buck, for instance, was with the Royals when Redmond was playing in Minnesota.
"I'm pumped," Buck said via text message about Redmond. "When I went to the All-Star Game , I remember talking to Joe Mauer about Mike. And he said he could learn something from him every day.
"So, selfishly, I'm excited to get to play for a manager whose advice has helped a Gold Glover behind the plate."
Redmond will be the fourth different Opening Day manager over the past four years -- Fredi Gonzalez (2010), Edwin Rodriguez ('11), Guillen ('12) and Redmond. In that span, the organization has had five managers. McKeon entered as an interim manager in June 2011 after Rodriguez resigned.
"We don't need to necessarily talk about winning divisions, or winning Wild Cards or winning this or winning that -- we need to win, period," Beinfest said told reporters after Guillen was dismissed. "We need to have that culture here, and that's been missing."