November 5, 2012
When the Miami Marlins named Mike Redmond their new manager last Thursday, they knew exactly the type of person they were getting. Over the past two seasons, various Blue Jays prospects got to know the man known as ‘Red’, and raved about his work as their manager.
After officially calling it quits as a player following the 2010 season, Redmond returned to baseball merely months later, as the Blue Jays came calling with an offer to manage their Class-A minor league affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts. Redmond needed little time to get accustomed to managing a ball club–not surprising considering many thought during his days as a player that being a manager was in his future–and after a successful stint with Lansing, he moved up to manage the High-A Dunedin Blue Jays this past season.
While he may have only been with the Blue Jays for two seasons, Redmond left quite an impression on the players he worked with.
“Mike is a player’s manager,” said right-handed starter Casey Lawrence, who played for Redmond this past season in Dunedin as well as in Lansing in 2011. “He genuinely cares about his guys no matter what the situation. He is a baseball guy and loves the game. He worked hard each and every day to make us better.”
Take Dunedin outfielder Jonathan Jones, for instance, who struggled out of the gate in 2012; his first year of full-season ball. Jones wound up hitting .231 with a .599 OPS before the All-Star break, but he turned things around in the second half, hitting .291 with a .745 OPS and credited Redmond’s support as one of the reasons for his late-season success.
“If you are struggling, Red sticks with you, which he did in my case this past year,” said Jones, currently playing for the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League, in an email. “He reminded me that struggles are all part of the process, and put many things in perspective for me on how to play a full season. Red stands behind his players no matter what the circumstances are.”
“Redmond was a great manager to play for,” said outfielder Michael Crouse, who was another player to have played for Redmond in both 2011 as well as 2012. “He made for a relaxed and enjoyable season while still having a winning attitude, which showed over two winning seasons.”
While Redmond certainly had a great rapport with his players, his ability to hold them accountable if they didn’t play up to his standards was a main reason why his teams consistently found success. After leading the Lugnuts to a 77-60 regular season record in 2011 and a berth in the Midwest League Championship Series, Redmond was named the league’s manager of the year. With Dunedin this past season, Redmond led his club to another playoff berth with a 78-55 overall record, good for tops in the Florida State League’s North division.
Outfielder Kevin Pillar was called up to Dunedin midway through the season after an impressive showing with Lansing, and while Redmond’s rapport with his players was noticeable, Pillar noticed his competitive nature right away.
“What stood out the most was how much he cared about winning,” said Pillar, who’s currently off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League. “He knows how to get the best out of his players. He was a winner in his career as a player, a winner as a manager in the minor leagues, and there is no doubt in my mind he will be a winner in the big leagues.”
The Marlins think so, too.