Ozzie Guillen Watch – Calm Before The Storm?

Marlins News

The Marlins finished 2012 with a 69-93 record

Not long before a disappointing and sometimes combative season ended for the Miami Marlins, the Ozzie Guillen watch began. Speculation and media reports suggested the Marlins were  “aggressively seeking a replacement for Ozzie Guillen.”  Apparently, no replacement or decision has been made.

Owner Jeffrey Loira has organizational meetings slated for next week and a decision should be made at that time. Meanwhile, Clark Spence of the Miami Herald suggests the longer Guillen keeps his job, the better chance he has of being retained.

“Though I have nothing concrete on which to base this on, it is my belief that as more time passes, the greater the likelihood Guillen keeps his job,” Spence wrote.

Guillen was signed to a four-year, $10 million contract last winter and still has three years and $7.5 million left on his deal.  The Marlins finished the 2012 campaign with a 69-93 record and occupied last place in the National League East.

The team opened a new stadium and at the time owner Jeffrey Loria said,  “As you all know we are celebrating two things today: Closing our time here at Sun Life Stadium and the introduction of my friend, Ozzie, over here.”

Guillen became embroiled in controversy over comments he made about Fidel Castro last spring and fell out of favor in the community and with local media. Guillen was suspended by team management for five days for his comments. Guillen expressed his regret over his comments. “Do I have any regrets about this year? Yes, about the guy comments. That’s it. Losing games, that’s part of the game,’’ Guillen said.

Reliever Heath Bell, who was signed last off-season to serve as the Marlins closer, decided that publicly criticizing Guillen was the right thing to do. Guillen removed Bell from closing games for the Marlins, after converting 19 of 26 save opportunities. “It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face-to-face,” Bell said. “There’s probably reasons why.”

Bell quickly tried to walk the comments back

“I was never criticizing Ozzie,” Bell said. “I don’t think that’s what I was doing on the radio. I was choosing my words kind of right. Apparently, I didn’t get it too right, but the thing is I respect Ozzie as a manager.”

Guillen replied of course

“It was my turn this week,” Guillen said before Miami’s game in Atlanta. “Last week it was the pitching coach. The week before it was his teammates. Every week it’s something. That’s why I don’t respect him as a person. You have to have principles.”

Say what you want about Guillen, but he is not afraid to speak his mind. He says what he means and means what he says.

The Marlins began a player purge earlier this summer, trading Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers in in return for RHPs Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGoughsent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for prospects.

Guillen and Loria had a good relationship at one point.

That relationship was put to the test. Loria reportedly was not pleased when Guillen implied that he cared more about going on vacation than whether he would be retained as manager: “The only thing I worry about, make sure that American Airlines plane is ready for Madrid.

“If Jeffrey doesn’t think I’m doing the job I should do … it’s not the first time he’s fired a manager,” Guillen told reporters. “Look yourself in the mirror and ask why so many (expletive) managers come through here.”

Again, Guillen says what he means and means what he says.

For the record, gutting the team in the middle of the season shouldn’t be a reason to fire Guillen. Loria has made poor decisions that were costly in the past. Giving Bell a three-year, $27 million contract comes to mind.

Its time for Loria to decide if Guillen belongs on that list.