Jordan Schafer hit .211 with 27 stolen bases in 106 games for the Astros last season and is going back to Atlanta, where he spent 6½ years in the Braves’ organization.
Mike Redmond hired as Marlins manager
MIAMI — The Miami Marlins’ celebrity manager was a bust, so they’re calling one up from the minors.
Mike Redmond, who spent the past two years managing Class A teams in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system, was hired Thursday by the Marlins to replace Ozzie Guillen.
A former major league catcher, Redmond had not interviewed for a big league job until he met with the Marlins last week. He received a three-year contract and will be introduced as the Marlins’ fifth manager since mid-2010 at a news conference at their ballpark Friday.
Guillen said he would be rooting for Redmond.
“Congrats Mike Redmond,” Guillen tweeted. “Good luck buddy u have great guys going to play for you. … Hope the best for you. u are a good baseball man and you will have fun with the players.”
Guillen was fired last week after only one season with the Marlins. A year ago they traded two minor league players to obtain him from the Chicago White Sox and gave him a team-record $10 million, four-year deal.
Redmond brings a much lower profile. A .287 hitter over 13 seasons, he played seven years for the Marlins and was the backup catcher to Ivan Rodriguez on their 2003 World Series championship team.
“I think it’s a great hire,” said Jack McKeon, who managed Redmond with the Marlins. “I’m just delighted. He’s a very knowledgeable young man. He was an unselfish player and dedicated. I was very impressed when I had him the years I was in Florida. I thought someday he would make a good manager.”
Redmond was popular with teammates because of his droll wit, and they still fondly recall him taking batting practice naked in an indoor cage several days in a row to help the 2003 team snap a slump.
McKeon claimed no firsthand knowledge of the episode but added, “Mike was a guy who kept everybody loose.”
Because of Redmond’s ties to Miami owner Jeffrey Loria and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, he was considered the front-runner for the job. Also interviewed were former major league manager Larry Bowa, former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon and Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Bryan Price.
Redmond, 41, becomes the 11th former catcher among current managers, and even during his playing days, he expressed an interest in managing. Besides McKeon, he played for Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire, among others.
“People ask you, ‘What’s your style?’” Redmond said last week. “I learned a lot from all of my managers. … There are so many guys I learned different things from. I sat and listened and watched and learned.”
Redmond was chosen Midwest League manager of the year in 2011, his first as a manager, after guiding the Lansing Lugnuts to a 77-60 record and an appearance in the league finals. This year he managed Dunedin to a 78-55 record and a berth in the Florida State League playoffs.
The rebranded Marlins moved into a new ballpark this year with a heftier payroll and high hopes, but the promising season began to derail in the first week with Guillen’s laudatory comments about former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Six months later, the episode was a factor in the decision to fire Guillen.
A lousy record and disappointing attendance didn’t help, either. Despite a free-agent spending spree a year ago, the Marlins finished last in the NL East at 69-93, their worst record since 1999. They drew more than 2.2 million fans but had projected attendance of nearly 3 million.
Under Loria, the Marlins have usually been among baseball’s thriftiest teams. With revenue falling short of projections this year, the spending binge of last offseason is unlikely to be repeated.
Budget constraints will make it difficult to upgrade a team that batted .244, the worst average in franchise history. The Marlins scored the fewest runs per game since their first year in 1993.
In the Marlins’ 20 seasons they have reached the postseason only twice, as wild-card teams in 1997 and 2003. Both times they won the World Series.
HOUSTON — Jordan Schafer is heading back to Atlanta, and the outfielder couldn’t be happier about rejoining the big league organization where he started his big league career.
Schafer was reacquired by the Braves on Thursday when they claimed him off waivers from the Houston Astros.
“I’m excited to go back,” Schafer said during an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s the first team that gave me an opportunity to play professional baseball, the first team to give me an opportunity to play in the big leagues. I still have a lot of friends over there and people I talk to, and I’ve lived there for a while.”
Schafer, who hit .211 with 27 stolen bases in 106 games for the Astros in an injury-plagued season, spent 6½ years in the Braves’ organization before he was dealt to Houston in July 2011.
He is eager to put this season behind him and bounce back in 2013.
“I’ve got to get back on track mentally more than physically,” he said. “I mean physically, I think everybody knows that my skills and my tools are there. It’s just I need to take care of mentally being in the right mind frame and having a positive attitude and being a good clubhouse guy and all that kind of stuff.”
He was part of the trade that brought center fielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn to Atlanta before the 2011 trade deadline.
Bourn hit .311 in the first half of the season before slumping to .225 after the All-Star break. He struck out a career-high 155 times in 155 games.
Schafer stole a combined 22 bases for the Braves and Astros in 2011, but he was arrested the following October in Tampa, Fla., on a felony possession of marijuana.
He won Atlanta’s starting job in center field as a 22-year-old in 2009 despite having never played above Double-A. He was suspended for the first 50 games of 2008 for a human growth hormone violation of minor league baseball’s drug policy.
Bourn, who stole 42 bases for the Braves last year, is expected to draw considerable interest from other teams as a free agent.
Schafer is looking forward to playing for a team coming off a trip to the playoffs.
“They were a playoff team last year and obviously the whole goal of playing 162 games is to make the playoffs and to try to win a World Series,” he said. “So I’m super excited about going back and joining a playoff team there, and I’m just going to go there to try to do the little things to help them win.”
Although he had a tough year in Houston, where the Astros lost a franchise-record 107 games, leaving the team is somewhat bittersweet.
“I’m sad in some instances because I made some friends in Houston and there’s some good people there and I’ll miss some of that stuff,” Schafer said. “But … they decided to go in a different direction in Houston, and I’m happy the Braves gave me an opportunity again.”
Atlanta is not exercising a $7 million option on third baseman Chipper Jones, who retired after the season-ending loss to St. Louis in the NL wild-card game. The Braves also said catcher J.C. Boscan and pitchers Erik Cordier and Robert Fish were sent outright to the minors and that Boscan refused the assignment and elected free agency.