It will be months before the Miami Marlins know if they picked the right manager, but Skip Schumaker looks good right now. And that was a must.
By all accounts, the Miami Marlins made a very smart hire last Tuesday when they landed Skip Schumaker as the 16th manager in franchise history.
Every sound byte has been positive. Former teammates are speaking glowingly. Talking heads on various national networks are pleased. Local beat writers are assuring fans that Miami’s front office is happy with this move. Consequently, Marlins fans are excited and feel good about the direction the team is heading.
But how much of that excitement has anything to do with Skip Schumaker himself? The reality is not very much.
Partly, that has to do with the fact that any manager change was going to be viewed at least somewhat favorably. Outgoing skipper Don Mattingly might have won more games than any other manager in team history, but he’d also managed to lose the most as well. In seven seasons with the club, he’d only enjoyed one winning season, and that was in 2020. Without question, a lot of the hurdles the Marlins faced during those years had nothing to do with their manager. Still, the time had come for a new voice.
Of course, change for the sake of change isn’t always a win. Miami Marlins history is full of examples of knee jerk reactions and quick fixes failing to bear fruit … which is why this specific 2022 managerial search felt so refreshing. Putting aside the fact that the front office was probably studying candidates since the All-Star Break, no less than 10 different people interviewed for the position once the season ended. Multiple candidates were brought back for second interviews. In short, there was nothing rushed about this process. The Marlins did their homework, and then some.
Lastly, the Marlins were the first team to come to terms with a first time manager during this hiring cycle. Only one other manager had signed during this hiring cycle at all, and that was when veteran Bruce Bochy came to terms with the Texas Rangers. Many of the names Miami was apparently considering were also being looked at by other organizations. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where a couple of those choices went elsewhere, and the Marlins were left in the unenviable position of having to spin a yarn about how it all worked out for the best, or how Candidate X was actually their top choice all along.
Instead, the Marlins can believably claim that after an extensive and methodical search, they went out and hired the best person for the job. And that person just happens to be named Skip Schumaker.
So celebrate in the short term, Marlins fans. Let’s just hope that once players start reporting for spring training, and once the games start counting this March, the hiring feels just as good as it did this fall.