From the start of this season, no manager was more disposable than Florida's Edwin Rodriguez.
Hired mid-stream last summer without any prior big-league experience to replace the fired Fredi Gonzalez, the Marlins thought enough of Rodriguez to remove the "interim" tag and make him their permanent manager for 2011 ... but they didn't think enough of him to give him more than a one-year contract.
Now, with the Marlins in their worst skid since 1998, club history tells us that Rodriguez is a dead man walking.
No owner in the game has run through more managers than Florida's Jeffrey Loria since the start of the 2003 season.
Perhaps it's because, the first time he whacked a manager (Jeff Torborg), Jack McKeon came in on a puff of cigar smoke and led the Marlins to their second World Series win in five seasons.
Maybe it's because the impatient and temperamental Loria simply is George Steinbrenner on training wheels.
Whatever, Torborg was gassed in May of '03. McKeon, riding his World Series triumph and gutsy pitch-Josh-Beckett-in-Game-6 decision, managed two more seasons and left of his own accord following '05. Joe Girardi managed in '06 but clashed with Loria and was fired after just one season. Gonzalez made it through three full seasons but was fired last June.
Now, coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Gonzalez bloodletting (June 23), it is Rodriguez who is moving toward the guillotine. His Marlins have lost seven in a row, 15 of their past 16 and 18 of 21.
They already sacrificed a coach, firing hitting instructor John Mallee on June 8.
How'd that work out? They're 1-8 since.
The Marlins have lost close (six of seven losses between June 1 and 9, amazingly, were one-run defeats) and they have lost in routs (the Phillies hammered them by a combined score of 17-2 over two games of a four-game Philadelphia sweep this week).
With ace Josh Johnson on the disabled list (again), Hanley Ramirez producing a career-worst season (.205, four homers, 17 RBIs) and third baseman of the future Matt Dominguez hitting just .190 this spring and then fracturing an elbow, a club that needed everything to go right to contend hasn't come close to either.
With Loria, this usually means goodbye, manager.
And barring a sudden turnaround this weekend against in-state rival Tampa Bay, sometime before the start of Monday's brief, three-game homestand against the Angels is a pretty good guess as to when.
Only question is, where the Marlins will turn.
Loria could go back to old buddy Bobby Valentine, the hot rumor a year ago, and see if their two nations can come together this time around.
He also could wait until this winter and see what happens with Ozzie Guillen. The White Sox manager -- and former Marlins coach -- remains a highly popular figure in Loria circles. And being that Ozzie keeps a home in the Miami area, the Marlins wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for him if things go south on the South Side of Chicago. Guillen's contract runs through this summer, with an option for 2012.
When this season started, the Marlins thought they could win now, and they felt like they had to win now because they needed to build momentum and translate that into ticket sales when they move into their new park next year.
Those plans are now in shambles. And when that happens in South Florida, usually, whatever comes next involves Loria, and an itchy trigger finger.