From the Sun-Sentinel-
MIAMI — Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi was fired Tuesday, a move that had been expected after his rift with owner Jeffrey Loria boiled over in an on-field confrontation two months ago.
Girardi lost his job even though he’s considered a strong candidate for NL manager of the year. The Marlins had baseball’s youngest team and lowest payroll at $15 million, but Girardi led them to a 78-84 record, and they were in contention for a playoff berth until a late-September fade.
The cost-conscious Marlins wanted Girardi out so badly they were willing to let him go with two years left on a guaranteed three-year contract he signed in October 2005, when he became a manager for the first time. At 41, he was the second-youngest manager in the major leagues after spending 15 years as a big-league catcher.
Atlanta third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez is considered the front-runner to replace Girardi. Gonzalez was runner-up in the Marlins’ search a year ago after Jack McKeon resigned.
Girardi said he was fired during a brief meeting in his office with team president David Samson, general manager Larry Beinfest and assistant general manager Mike Hill. Loria did not attend.
“They came in and said, `We’re going to make a change,”’ Girardi said. He said no reason was given.
“To hash over what happened doesn’t make any sense,” Girardi said.
Marlins officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
This news was as predictable as it is dismaying. After the 2005 fire sale, the 2006 Marlins 78-84 performance was absolutely incredible. Joe Girardi should be the NL 2006 Manager of the year. One thing is certain, Joe will land another manager’s job. The Chicago Cubs maybe.
One-time Knucklehead winner Jeffrey Loria is certain to get another award from me tomorrow.
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