MIAMI — Miami Marlins President David Samson says he regrets moving general manager Dan Jennings into the dugout, and the franchise has begun its latest managerial search with a new approach.
In the past, Samson said, the Marlins have sought to hire a manager who was a stark contrast to his predecessor.
"That's how many organizations do it," Samson said Tuesday, noting the Miami Dolphins' coaching change Monday from bland Joe Philbin to fiery Dan Campbell.
"It has not worked for us. So what we decided to do this time is hire the best candidate. We're not saying, 'We want someone fiery,' or 'We want someone young.' We're treating it like the draft, where you draft the best player available, and not by position."
Jennings will return to his former job as general manager after an awkward 124-game stint as a first-time manager. Candidates to replace him include former major league managers Manny Acta, Larry Bowa and Bo Porter, and many others have expressed interest, Samson said.
"It's remarkable the names we've gotten — former players, people who have never played, people who have never managed, people who have managed for many years, people you thought were retired as managers," Samson said.
Jennings made the unusual move from GM to manager when the Marlins fired Mike Redmond after a 16-22 start. The change failed to spark a turnaround, and the injury-riddled Marlins finished 71-91, their sixth consecutive losing season.
"Do we regret doing what we did?" Samson said. "It's hard to say I don't, because it did not have the desired result. I regret everything that doesn't work."
Jennings' coaches were told they're free to seek jobs elsewhere, except for first base-infield coach Perry Hill, who is under contract for next year.
Jennings has been with the Marlins since 2002 and is under contract through 2018. There has been considerable stability at the team's executive level, but that could change if the Marlins don't start winning in their 4-year-old ballpark.
The next manager will be owner Jeffrey Loria's seventh since June 2010.
"It's very difficult to believe we keep getting all these chances from Jeffrey," said Samson, who has been with the Marlins for 14 years. "I'm not sure we'll have an option to do it the time after this. He looks at empty seats; he looks at team performance and looks at the job the baseball people do, and he's not happy with the results."
Little change is expected in Loria's payroll next year, however. Miami ranked next to last in the majors in 2015 at $69 million.