The Florida Marlins announced one of the most shocking, inexplicable moves of the season Saturday night. The team demoted left fielder Logan Morrison to Triple-A New Orleans hours after batting him third in their lineup against the Giants. The move was stunning for several reasons.
Although Morrison was hitless Saturday, he had two hits in each of the previous two games. He was second on the team with 17 home runs, third with 60 RBIs, and second with a .791 OPS. Yes, the Marlins sent one of their best hitters down to Triple-A to work on things.
Sure, Morrison struggled in June and July after getting off to a scorching start in April and May. His batting average had dropped to .249 and he struggled in the field, but he had plenty of time to turn it around. It’s apparent the demotion was due to several factors, very few of which related to baseball. In short, the Marlins wanted to teach him a lesson about falling in line.
Morrison upset some of the organization’s leaders several times over the past few months. The young outfielder reportedly confronted Hanley Ramirez in June for being late to a team meeting. He also seemingly took a shot at Hanley last week saying that the shortstop can’t be an anchor in the lineup when he’s hurt (Morrison said the reporter made him look badly when that was not his intention). That was only a fraction of his criticism. Morrison also criticized the team’s decision to fire their hitting coach in June. And in May, the team president warned Morrison about his tweeting (Morrison is one of the most popular baseball players on twitter).
Although all those issues seem to add up, the incident that appeared to prompt the demotion was a missed public relations event. Morrison participated in an autograph session on Saturday but he reportedly refused to participate in a photo session with season ticket holders later in the day. Morrison reportedly asked the team’s players union representative, Wes Helms, if he had any obligation to attend the event. Helms supposedly told him he did not have to attend it, so Morrison skipped it. He later apologized to the ticket holders on twitter.
The team released Helms the same night they demoted Morrison. Combining those two pieces of information signals the team’s motivation. If the Marlins felt like Morrison needed to work on things, why didn’t they demote him last month when he was really struggling? Why did they send him down a day after he had two hits in back-to-back games?
It’s pretty obvious this is just the wacky Florida front office at work. They’re the same group that fires managers for overachieving with one of the lowest payrolls in the league. They’re the same group that brings back an 80-year-old man to manage the team. They’re fine with Hanley Ramirez loafing after balls, but they’re not OK with Morrison for calling him on it.
When you think about it, if they’re demoting Morrison because of his low batting average, shouldn’t the same be done to Hanley Ramirez, Mike Cameron, and John Buck since they’re all hitting lower than Logan? Their actions are inconsistent, vindictive, and make little sense.
Morrison’s agent reportedly is looking into filing a grievance over the demotion. Typically we don’t support such measures, but in this case it’s completely warranted.Google+