Winter Meetings interview with Mike Redmond

Winter Meetings interview with Mike Redmond

Q. What are the moves? What have they done to your lineup overall?

MIKE REDMOND: Well, I think going into the off season, we got together as an organization and talked about ways that we could better improve our team and our lineup. I think Mike and D.J. worked hard and obviously signed a catcher. Saltalamacchia was the first step, and then bringing in Furcal and now Garrett Jones has definitely given us more offense, more weapons, and extended our lineup.

We talked about that last year with the depth of our lineup and how we could improve it, and we feel like now we've got a couple of guys that we can put in the middle of that order behind Stan to give him a little protection. I know we talked about that last year, getting him some help where hopefully he'll get some better pitches. I think we've done that. We've brought in some guys that are winners, guys that have been in the playoffs, good character guys, and I think they'll help out our young players quite a bit.

Q. Are you at liberty to talk about the impending move with Morrison?

MIKE REDMOND: As of right now, I don't have an announcement. I know that Mike and D.J. are working hard. But we've got a room full of guys working on a lot of different things. As of right now, they'll let me know if there is an a announcement to be made. But as of right now, there is nothing.

Q. How is your bullpen shaping up right now?

MIKE REDMOND: It's one of those areas that we're working on. We lost Webby, and we lost Jack Wallace, two guys that ate up a lot of innings for us last year.

But we have pitching depth in our organization, guys that can fill that role. But as a manager, every team out here is looking for the same thing. Everybody wants a bat or a couple bats and a couple pitchers and a couple relievers. So like any team or any organization, we're all looking for the same thing, trying to strengthen the bullpen and grab an offensive player or two to help us and our offense win more ballgames.

Q. Along those lines in the bullpen, you had Ramos in a bunch of different roles last year. Do you feel he's at the point where can he take the next step and be the 8th inning guy and fill in for --

MIKE REDMOND: For sure. We talked about that last year. I have a lot of confidence in him. He did a great job for a young guy. We pitched him in a lot of different situations. We pitched him early. We pitched him plate. And definitely he's going to get that opportunity to come in and pitch. Where we put him, where he fits, we'll wait to see. But I feel really comfortable with what can he do. I have a lot of confidence in him. He can get righties and lefties out. And really has the mentality and the stuff to be able to pitch at any point in the game.

Q. You talked about Stanton and building around him. The moves you've made, how do you feel that helps build around him?

MIKE REDMOND: I think it will help. I think it will help him. I think all of our guys, I think it's energized all of us. Going out and signing these guys, I know I'm excited. I know the coaching staff is excited. I think we all believe in the direction that we're headed and the guys that we have in place, the foundation. We've got a lot of great arms. We've got a lot of great position players. Talking about bringing in a few guys to kind of help surround him. And we've had a great week bringing in some guys and improving our ballclub.

Q. The top of your order, you've got Furcal. Do you have leadoffs? Where do you see him?

MIKE REDMOND: I see him leading off. With Yelich, I know we can hit him third or second. We can hit Stanton third, then we can either go Garrett Jones or Salty in there in the four hole and lefty righty, whatever, however we want to make it.

So we have some options in there. Probably that is something that we'll play around with in spring training trying to see where our guys fit.

I remember last year you guys asked me about the lineup, and we went through a lot of different scenarios, and I think I probably used every one of those scenarios.

Q. Polanco was your opening day clean up hitter.

MIKE REDMOND: Yeah, so we tried. I feel like you guys have a feel for me. I'm not afraid to try anybody (laughing). I proved that last year.

Q. Given that, how much better do you feel about what you have now?

MIKE REDMOND: Way better, oh, yeah, for sure. Without a doubt. Like I said, we've lengthened our lineup. Now we have some guys that have really proven that they can hit and hit for power, and that will take a lot of pressure off our young guys. We're still going to have some young players in that lineup, guys that this is going to be their really first full season in the big leagues. So, yeah. To be able to bring in these guys and prove that they're guys that you know are going to hit is a big lift for our lineup.

Q. As a former catcher, what do you think is the best way to solve this problem with collisions? What would you like to see the rules be now?

MIKE REDMOND: Well, that's a tough one because I think as a player, I don't know that I minded the collisions. As a manager, obviously, with the concussions and the injuries, I want to protect my guys. I don't want them to get hurt because I need them. I'm not sure exactly the answer. But I know that we're working on that and working on protecting guys. I know that there is a solution out there. What it is, I'm not sure yet. But I don't want to see guys get hurt and I know we're going to work on trying to protect these guys.

Q. What did you think of the presentation this morning and the things that you guys discussed?

MIKE REDMOND: As far as the collisions?

Q. Yeah.

MIKE REDMOND: I wasn't in there for that. I was doing some media stuff, so I missed that.

Q. It's such a bang bang play all the time. You never know where the throw is going to end up. So much is on the verge. Do you think it's even going to be possible to take that play out of the game?

MIKE REDMOND: I think it's going to be possible. You just have to figure out how to do it. I mean, I don't know. I know as a catcher, if I knew that the runner couldn't run me over, I'd definitely block the plate.

So there is probably a solution there. That is something that they've got to work on. Will it be perfect? I don't know. Probably not.

Q. You saw a runner coming who was stalling you and you knew could physically knock you over, you would --

MIKE REDMOND: Well, if I was catching and I knew that the guy wasn't going to run me over then I could block the plate. Not worry about being him just sliding into me. You know, as a catcher, you always have that aspect of, hey, this guy could run me over, so I have to be ready and if that is eliminated, you can lay down in front of the plate, right?

So, like I said, I don't know. I wasn't in the meeting, so I don't know what they talked about. But I'm sure they'll let me know.

Q. Do you see Garrett Jones sort of revitalizing his career here in Miami after he's had a couple off years in Pittsburgh?

MIKE REDMOND: Well, I think it's a great opportunity. Garret Jones and I played together in Minnesota for a short time. He's one of those guys who he has an opportunity to play, and he's going to always have to go out there and improve himself. I'm excited to have him. He's a great guy, great teammate. He can hit for a lot of power. He just needs to play. He's going to get that opportunity for us down here in Miami to go out and prove what he can do. He's a big lift for us. He is. He's a guy that can hit some home runs in our ballpark.

Q. Which one of the moves is the most exciting to you of all the ones you've done so far?

MIKE REDMOND: Well, I'm a catcher. Getting a catcher, a guy who's a World Series winner. He's grinded it out. He's led a pitching staff through a lot of stuff, lot of ups and downs. He's been in the fire. So to get an opportunity to work with him and talk to him and share some thoughts and ideas, I'm excited about that. I know that he in our conversations is excited about being able to come in here and catch our young pitching staff, when you talk to a guy on the phone and that's what he brings up, working with the pitchers and working with our great arms, I like that because pitching is the key. Pitching is the key to success. We have some good arms, but we need somebody to help guide them, and he's going to be that guy.

Q. How good are Turner and Eovaldi right now? And what does each need to do to take that step outside of just more innings?

MIKE REDMOND: Yeah, they're good. I think part of them going out there and pitching in the big leagues is developing them. And you've got a lot of innings to improve. It's like any pitcher would. What are your keys to success? It's throwing strikes. It's command of a consistent breaking ball. It is continuing to go through the process in the big leagues of learning the hitters and learning yourself what you can and can't do. That's a work in progress, I can say, for all the pitchers that you need to be consistent, more consistent with their fastballs, more consistent with their off speed command. That sometimes just takes a little bit more time.

Q. (No microphone)?

MIKE REDMOND: I haven't thought about my offensive philosophy. We'll kind of see how these guys blend together in the lineup. But I like, like I talked about the extension of our lineup what we have now, more threats, more power threats last year. I don't have to sit here and talk to you about our offensive numbers, our power numbers, our runs scored. It was historic and not in a good way.

So we need to improve, get better, and we think we did that. We brought in guys that hit, and hit for power in the past, along with the guys we already have, we feel like it's going to be a mix. As far as philosophy, it's probably a little early for that.

Q. Will Jones get a chance to hit against lefties or do you strictly see platoon?

MIKE REDMOND: Yeah, I think he will. I think you look at his numbers in the past, the years that he's really taken off and the years that he's just played every single day, and maybe the last couple of years where he's platooned, he has been successful. So I think initially my thoughts are he can play every single day.

Q. Where do you see the role of Solano in this ballclub?

MIKE REDMOND: He can do a lot of things for us. He can play every infield position. He can play the outfield. He's going to be a super utility guy. He'll do just about anything. He'll be able to move around and give guys days off when they need them. You always plan on if a guy gets banged up or missed some time, he did a great job for us last year. We can play him at any position out there for an extended period of time too.

With any team you have to have players that you can throw out there to try to convert, and he's a guy that fits that role for us really nice. He does a good job. I like him. He's scrappy as a hitter too, puts the ball in play. We can hit and run with him. He drives in runs. He's a nice utility player.

Q. How do you think your young rotation will do with all they've learned from a year ago? Obviously their numbers might have been good, but overall team numbers weren't. But how do you think they'll grow from that?

MIKE REDMOND: I think any time you can allow young players to go out in the Major Leagues and get that experience, to log those innings and be able to pitch, we'll be better off. These guys now have a year under their belt. They know what to expect going into the season.

The key for everybody is for us to stay healthy and be able to count on those guys to go out there and take their turn to pitch, and pitch those innings. I'm looking for those guys to get deeper into games this year. We not only have a year or so under their belts, but then extend those guys later into the innings as many times as we can, and that will help us out.

Q. How about Jose, you had some restrictions with him last year. How do you see the extension?

MIKE REDMOND: We haven't really talked about his innings or where he's going to be at this year. That's probably a later conversation. But he'll definitely be able to he's going to be extended out this year, so he's going to have more.

But like with all of our guys, it doesn't mean he's going to go out there and throw 140 pitches on opening day. We're still going to monitor him. Chuck and I think we did a nice job taking care of him. Some people would say let him go out there and throw as many pitches as he wants, but it doesn't work like that.

21 year old kid. He's still young. Even though we know he's strong, and that he wants to pitch nine innings every single time out, we'll continue to monitor him and take care of him because we want him for the long haul.

Q. With all he accomplished with getting Rookie of the Year and so forth, the sophomore stuff, what are some of the trends he needs to avoid?

MIKE REDMOND: Well, I think with any young guy, you worry about trying to do too much, just trying to -- the beauty of him last year is he went out there and pitched his game. He had nothing to lose. No expectations. He went out there and was just Jose. He's confident.

Chuck does a good job. He's got great communication with him. We'll continue to talk to him about being himself. Not do too much. Not put too much pressure. Just concentrate on what's made you successful. If he does that, he'll be fine. There is no doubt in my mind this kid has a chance to get out there and be better than he was this year.

Q. Along the same lines with the original question of the pitching staff, everybody has referred to the historically awful season offensively. But it was historically the best season ever for a Marlins pitching staff in terms of ERA. Any concern at all of maintaining that level or not going backwards from that standpoint?

MIKE REDMOND: Sure. You never know what's going to happen from year to year. You just never know. Last year those guys pitched great. They kept us in so many games I felt so much confidence really bringing a lot of those guys in in any situation. You've got to have a good bullpen with great arms down there and hopefully those guys will go out there and just continue to build off of what they did last year. I look for them to be just as consistent.

Q. You made all those moves so far. What move would you like for them to make or what piece would you like before the season starts? What is on the top of your wish list?

MIKE REDMOND: I'd love to have another big bat. Another big bat in there.

Q. Getting greedy.

MIKE REDMOND: Yeah, of course. Those first two months of the season, it was tough. It was a struggle.

But like I said I feel good about the direction we're headed. We really have worked well as an organization in our talks, and we've talked a lot about the types of guys that we want to have on the team, in the clubhouse, and the direction that we're headed. I feel great about it. Piece by piece we'll continue to build this team and we're headed in the right direction, a winning direction. The direction that we want to go.

Q. With Stanton obviously a big part of your team, what do you want to see from him to get him back on track and be the 30 plus homer and the guy he can be?

MIKE REDMOND: Well, I think he just we just want him to relax. I think last year I think probably felt like he needed to do it all offensively. As a former player, whenever you feel like you have to do that, that's not it usually doesn't end up good. I think for him to be successful, we just want him to go out there and just have fun and play his game. He's so talented. He means so much to our lineup and to our organization. We just want him to go out there and just do his part with no pressure.

With the additions to our lineup and our team, it should be easy for him this year.

Q. Do you like him hitting third?

MIKE REDMOND: Yeah, I like him there. I think he can hit fourth. I know he hit third last year. But like I say, you throw a Salty behind him or a Ozuna or however you end up doing it, and then with Furcal leading off, you get those guys on base eventually. We talked about it last year, you have to have a scenario where you have to throw to him. When they have to throw to him, that's when he can do a lot of damage.

Q. It seems you're kind of looking at Salty, Ozuna, and Garrett Jones as a mix of those four, five, six type of guys?

MIKE REDMOND: Yeah, when I look at the middle, I see those guys in the middle of that order somewhere, whether it's 4, 5, 6.

Q. And Hech your third baseman?

MIKE REDMOND: Like I said, Hech, I ultimately see this guy as a two hole hitter. I really think that he think the fits that profile of being a two hole hitter. Will it be this year? I don't know. But I see him in that role at some point. But currently he'll probably hit lower in the order, whether it be 7th or 8th. You know, we have Solano. Solano can play third and right now he can hit in that two hole too.

We do have some options, some flexibility, and we'll just try to figure out where it all comes together.

Q. What roles do you envision Lucas and Dietrich playing throughout the year?

MIKE REDMOND: Eddie Lucas is an amazing story coming up after playing so many years in the minor leagues. This is like a utility guy. He can do lots of different things. He can play first. He can play all the infield positions and play the outfield and he's our emergency catcher. So as you see, I've seen over the last few years that flexibility on teams is huge. So he's a guy who is going to come in, and give us that flexibility, and could be looking for a utility job.

Q. Dietrich, what role will Dietrich play?

MIKE REDMOND: I think we'll see Dietrich in spring training come in at third base and get a chance to play a little more third base. I think we all envisioned him as a third baseman. He did a great job at second. We know he can do that. We know he can play shortstop as well.

This year we'll bring him into spring training and see how he does at third base. We like his power. We like his bat. And it's just a matter of trying to figure out where he fits the best on the team.

Q. Taking a former catcher's perspective, why do you think we've seen such an immediate impact of these young starting pitchers rise up? The Joses, Garrett Cole and Wacha?

MIKE REDMOND: Because they throw 98. I think he's guys just have great arms. You see these guys coming to the big leagues throwing -- Eovaldi throwing 100, Jose throwing 98, they've got really good arms. You've got a nice mix of power pitchers.

I know back from the days when I played you see the Becketts and those guys come to the big leagues. They were power guys. Everybody out here is looking for those same things. They're looking for those power arms because they know those guys have the ability to go out and dominate. We're fortunate enough to have one of the best.

Q. Cishek might be the most underrated closer in the game. Why is he so good?

MIKE REDMOND: Well, I think -- you're right. He is. He had an unbelievable run for us, and we feel so comfortable with him closing out games for us. I think he has the deceptiveness, but, you know, remember early on the season last year, he struggled. He struggled for a while. He's a guy who studies hitters. He studies his mechanics and has a great plan. He improved last year and got better. You know, he turned some struggles against left handed hitters into some real strengths by the end of the year. That's a testament to him and how hard he worked. He was very consistent.

Yeah, you're right, he is underrated.

Q. Yeah, Michael Hill said the other day that the media should write more about how good your shortstop is defensively. Can you talk about Hechavarria?

MIKE REDMOND: Yeah, yeah, he is. I know that -- I've heard people write a lot about his defensive, I don't know, metrics or whatever it is. This guy, we get a chance to watch him play every single day. This guy's unbelievable. He makes a lot of great plays. He makes a lot of tough plays look easy. He gets to a lot of balls that a lot of guys don't get to. I know if you asked any one of our pitchers, they love him having back there. He's consistently played a lot of games for us. But I think he ended up with the most plate appearances of anybody on our team. He did a nice job. He's fun. He's only going to improve.