By: Andy Slater (@AndySlater)
Red clown noses, a shouting match, multiple trade requests by the team's ace, and players/coaches actively rooting against him: Welcome to the 2015 Marlins clubhouse.
It was a Sunday afternoon, May 17, 2015 to be exact. Marlins' president of baseball operations Michael Hill walked into an area where media assembled and said the Marlins had just fired Mike Redmond. The team was making a managerial change. That, however, wasn't the only change.
"We'd have circus music blaring after we won a game," one player source told me. "Jeff Baker got released because one day he brought in about 50 red clown noses to go with the music and passed them out," the source told me on the basis of anonymity. SiriusXM's Craig Mish hinted at something similar in a September tweet. Baker was the ringleader, I'm told.
The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported in August that Baker was let go because the Marlins felt he "was a bad influence on a couple of young players and was conveying an anti-front office message."
Baker didn't bring the only negativity, however.
As I reported last week and on Tuesday, the Marlins front office is not happy with Fernandez's attitude. "Jose talks to management like they are children," another player source told me. I've now learned, it goes beyond that.
On at least two occasions in the Marlins clubhouse this season, Fernandez approached Hill --- according to multiple player sources --- and openly said "when are you going to trade me?"
"There were times this season where, not all, but some players and coaches hoped Jose would go out on the mound and get shelled," a player source told me. "We thought it would get him to be more humble."
The stories I've been told by several player sources within the last few weeks certainly paint a different picture of the team and their fan-friendly, star pitcher.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria implemented a team rule stating players and coaches are not permitted to wear pullover hoodies during batting practice or in the dugout during a game unless the team is playing in cold weather conditions. "That's a rule that Fernandez doesn't care about," one player source told me.
Casey McGehee --- who the Marlins brought back mid-season --- got into a shouting match with Fernandez before one game, I'm told. "Jose was late and Casey gave it to him," the source said.
Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings are Dec. 6-10 in Nashville, TN. How many moves the Marlins make and if Fernandez is one of them remains to be seen.
Many baseball fans and South Floridians knew to expect some issues with the organization, but I'm not sure anyone expected this.