New Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly received a ton of justifiable criticism during his up-and-down tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
From in-game decision making to how he handled the 25-man roster given to him, Mattingly was considered an enigmatic figure in the Southern California sports scene.
It remains to be seen if this is going to change in Florida, but his first major decision as the Marlins’ manager seems a bit puzzling.
Instead of naming 23-year-old ace Jose Fernandez the team’s opening day starter, Mattingly is going with veteran free-agent acquisition Wei-Yin Chen.
#Marlins announce Wei-Yin Chen, not Jose Fernandez, will start Opening Day. All part of limiting Fernandez's 2016 innings count.
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) March 20, 2016
This doesn’t have anything to do with Fernandez’s ability on the bump. The ace has posted a 22-9 record with a 2.40 ERA and 11 strikeouts per nine innings in his 47 career starts.
Instead, it’s all about the decision to hold Fernandez back from a huge workload after he made just 11 starts last season following Tommy John Surgery.
Holding Fernandez back is one thing. Making the decision to not start him on opening day is a completely different thing. The former could have easily been accomplished without sitting Fernandez to open the regular season.