After weeks of speculation, the Miami Marlins have dismissed manager Ozzie Guillen. It was less than a year ago that Guillen signed a four-year contract worth $10 million to manage the Marlins, after the team had acquired him in exchange for compensation from the Chicago White Sox. Given their transactions over the last several months, you can call the Marlins front office many things, but laissez-faire is not one of the terms to be used.
Despite the speculation, the firing is somewhat surprising considering that that the team, just this past weekend, traded away Heath Bell, who had butted heads with the manager throughout the season. Their disagreements over Bell’s status on the team came to a head most infamously in a mid-September radio interview in which the reliever stated that it was “hard to respect” his team’s manager.
Guillen countered Bell’s comments by going on another radio program the next week, telling the hosts that he respected Bell as a player, but was unsure if that positive regard extended to him as a man. He also suggested that the reliever had thrown multiple people under the bus this season in an attempt to explain his own shortcomings.
It was later reported that the majority of the Marlins team was with Guillen in his assessment of Bell, who had become something of a pariah in the clubhouse at the end of the year. In fact, while Guillen was on the radio discussing the reliever’s comments, teammates embarrassed Bell by turning up the volume in the clubhouse and ensuring that he heard the interview.
Many pundits believed that Bell’s trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Yordi Cabrera was motivated out of both cutting payroll and showing support to Guillen. However, today’s news begs to differ. This might not sit well with a team already beleaguered by recent cuts to the team payroll. Assuming that Ricky Nolasco is not alone in his response, it appears that the former manager was well-liked by the team that he handled prior to today’s dismissal.
U gotta b fuckin shitting me
— ricky nolasco (@RNolasco47) October 23, 2012
In addition to a disappointing win-loss record, Guillen’s tenure in Miami didn’t get off to the best of beginnings. The outlandish manager made the following off-hand remarks that didn’t sit well with the large Cuban community in Miami.
I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother fucker is still here.
Statements like that, no matter how inoffensive the intent might have been, just don’t play out very well in a city where a large chunk of the population either defected from Castro’s Cuba or are a generation removed from family that escaped the Communist regime. Guillen was suspended by the team for his remarks, but many in the community were calling for his dismissal back in April because of this.
While another team may be slow to take a chance on Ozzie Guillen considering his reputation for media shenanigans, I think there’s a ton of merit to this idea.
Ozzie and Bobby should be in the ESPN booth together. With a lion tamer.
— Harry Pavlidis (@harrypav) October 23, 2012
Bench coach Joey Cora was also fired by the Marlins, but third base coach Joey Espada and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius will keep their jobs for now.