PHILADELPHIA -- Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez will be evaluated at the end of the season, leaving the winningest manager in team history with no guarantee he'll return for 2010.
Marlins president David Samson also said Sunday he was not aware of any talks between Florida and former Mets manager Bobby Valentine. ESPN.com reported that Valentine, who recently ended a six-year run as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan's Pacific League, is in talks about taking a position with the Marlins.
Gonzalez signed a two-year extension in spring training, putting him under contract through 2011. He also led the thrifty Marlins to a winning record with the lowest payroll in baseball ($37 million) and passed Jack McKeon for most wins by a manager in team history with his 242nd on Saturday.
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"As we looked at the performance at things that happened, games that went one way, games that went another way, there is no question we felt we should have been a playoff team," Samson said during Sunday's Marlins-Phillies game.
Samson said owner Jeffrey Loria, who was not at the game, is insistent the team will not lose money.
"I don't think he would look at it and say, 'Man, if I just put in $20 more million, that would have made the difference in making the playoffs,"' Samson said. "There are some people that argue we could have taken $4 million off this team and done better."
Loria fired Joe Girardi after only one season despite eventually winning NL Manager of the Year honors. Girardi was replaced by Gonzalez.
Relaxed and puffing a cigar in the dugout, Gonzalez said he was not worried about the report and called Valentine "a good baseball man."
"I don't even want to talk about it," Gonzalez said after the Phillies beat the Marlins 7-6 in 10 innings. "You get judged on wins and losses. We all have bosses. We'll just keep moving forward."
Valentine led the Mets to the World Series in 2000, where they lost to the Yankees in five games. He is returning to ESPN as an analyst on Baseball Tonight for the league championship series and World Series.
The Marlins went 71-91 in Gonzalez's first season and improved to 84-77 last year, when he became the third manager to lead them to a winning record.
They were 87-74 entering Sunday's finale at Philadelphia and remained in the wild-card hunt until the final weeks. All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez hit .342 to become the first Marlin to win a batting title and rookie left fielder Chris Coghlan had the most hits after the All-Star break by any National League player in the last 45 years.
"We're all disappointed," Samson said. "Certainly winning 87 or 88 games is positive for the organization, but our goal every year is to make the playoffs. That's that."
Samson would not set a date when a decision would be reached on the future of Gonzalez and the coaching staff. He refused to rule out other cost-cutting changes within the organization.
"We have not done furloughs, we haven't done mass firings in the front office that other teams have done, but we're evaluating the possibility of that too," Samson said.