Girardi a goner

This will be one of those moves that, years from now, people are going to look at and question just what the Florida Marlins were thinking.

The Fish today fired manager Joe Girardi after one year -- one highly successful year -- on the job. This came two months after a highly publicized rift with owner Jeffrey Loria boiled over into an on-field confrontation. The Marlins already have targeted Atlanta third base coach Fredi Gonzalez as their new skipper, and probably name him this week.

Florida was expected to lose 100 games this season. They had the lowest payroll in the majors -- roughly $15 million -- an inexperienced pitching staff, a rookie-laden lineup and had no hope of competing. An 11-31 start reinforced what many thought.

Here's what the Marlins did under Girardi:

-- Finished with a 78-84 record, and stayed in the wild card race until the final week of the season.
-- Had four rookie pitchers each finish with more than 10 wins, including Anibal Sanchez who tossed a no-hitter.
-- Nurtured the development of Miguel Cabrera (.339 average, 185 hits, 114 RBIs) as a superstar, and Hanley Ramirez (51 steals, 185 hits, 119 runs) and Dan Uggla (172 hits, 27 homers, All-Star berth) as stars in-the-making.

Yeah, I'd fire him too.

Girardi apparently talked himself out of Florida when he chided Loria for berating umpires during a game. And while Loria does sign the paychecks, he does have the right to do what he chooses. Given Girardi's success, you'd think he would have built up some equity.

Short-sighted. Very short-sighted, Jeffrey.

My call ... Girardi ends up in Chicago, turns around a moribund Cubs franchise and is considered a latter-day Joe Torre. Considering he played for Torre and briefly was a coach for him, it stands to reason the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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