As you likely heard, Ozzie Guillen managed his final game for the Chicago White Sox last night when his Pale Hose defeated the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of some runs to fewer runs. News began filtering out mid-game that Ozzie could perhaps be on the move. The above post-game press conference confirmed it.
The unusual twist in this story is Ozzie agreeing, mid-season and mid-contract, to become the next manager of the Florida Marlins. The compensation stands to take on the form of Marlins prospect Ozzie Martinez with a minor-league pitcher accompanying Guillen to Florida), meaning the White Sox traded their manager with one year remaining on his contract.
Ozzie leaves a strange legacy. He was undoubtedly the face of the franchise during his tenure in Chicago, leading them to a surprise World Series title in 2005. Ozzie became more famous for his epic rants and unvarnished opinions rather than the success of his club on the field.
How will this act play in Florida? Without the deeply entrenched fanbase and a perfect foil like Sox GM Kenny Williams, will he just be an angry old man shouting at clouds? Will his dissatisfaction be visited on the head of ownership, a group/figurehead not exactly know for their sense of humor.
The baseball side of this deal is equally interesting. Ozzie goes from a veteran-laden club in a soft division to a team built on youth with some hefty divisional rivals to content with. More importantly: Ozzie is not bringing famed pitching coach Don Cooper with him to South Florida.
Can Ozzie get through to Hanley Ramirez in a real way? Does it matter if he does? Ozzie isn’t known for his abundant patience and his steadying hand hasn’t awoken Alex Rios from his funk.
The Marlins have the core in place and might just spend some money on the free agent market in an attempt to extract some post-season revenue from their new ballpark. Just be wary of anyone who believes hiring a notorious manager will sell tickets. It won’t, not even in Florida. Ozzie has his work cut out for him while the Marlins management group might be more careful what they wish for in the future.