MIAMI — The latest purge by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria targeted the personnel department rather than the dugout.
President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was fired Friday after 12 years with the Marlins. The move came as the team neared the end of its third consecutive last-place season in the NL East.
Loria also fired Jim Fleming, who had also been with the Marlins for 12 seasons and was Beinfest's special assistant. Beinfest and Fleming were dismissed with two years left on their contracts.
Loria said he would soon make further announcements about a new structure in baseball operations, and Marlins executive Dan Jennings is considered a strong candidate to replace Beinfest. Jennings has been with the team for 11 seasons and is vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager.
Another possible candidate is vice president and general manager Mike Hill, who has been with the Marlins for six seasons.
Beinfest provided a measure of stability during the Marlins' frequent payroll purges and changes in managers — they've had five since 2010, with Mike Redmond holding the job this season.
Beinfest was general manager in 2003 when the Marlins made an improbable run to the World Series title. But there has been no return to the playoffs since, with Loria's tight payrolls making it difficult for the franchise to be competitive.
The Marlins moved into a new ballpark last year, but their fortunes on the field only declined.
Beinfest also worked under Loria in 2001 with the Montreal Expos. When Loria bought the Marlins before the 2002 season, he brought Beinfest along.
"Larry has worked with me for 13 years, making huge contributions to our efforts and serving as a partner to me in the process," Loria said in a statement. "I wish him nothing but the best and know he will make a great addition wherever he lands."
Beinfest sent a text message to media outlets as the Marlins began batting practice.
"I look back positively at tackling numerous challenges, opening a new ballpark and enjoying a World Series championship," Beinfest wrote. "I look forward to continuing my 24-year MLB career in the near future."