Most managers need two or three years to match the fire and controversy that Ozzie Guillen can bring in one. And in Miami, one season is all Guillen got. The Marlins fired Guillen Tuesday afternoon after a single disappointing year, even though Guillen has three years and $7.5 million remaining on his contract.
"After careful consideration following the disappointment of the 2012 season, we decided to dismiss Ozzie," Marlins president Larry Beinfast said in a statement."Our managerial search begins immediately, and our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture."
"Disappointment" only begins to hint at the scope of the problems in Miami in 2012. The team overhauled its entire organization, from a new stadium to a new name to a new logo ... and the same sad result. The Marlins have been in existence for 20 seasons, and have had a "winning culture" for exactly six of them. (Granted, they won the World Series in two of those years, but that probably only made things worse.)
Granted, the Marlins firing someone for losing is kind of like the Mets firing someone for underperforming, but Guillen, who won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox, did little to bolster his own case. Within days of his hiring, he said that he had "respect" for Fidel Castro, which is without a doubt the dumbest remark anyone within 300 miles of Miami could make. He was suspended for five games for that remark. He also scrapped with everyone from Bryce Harper over pine tar on bats to his own reliever Heath Bell ("I don't respect him as a person," Guillen said), and launched an attack on owner Jeffrey Loria ("Look yourself in the mirror and ask why so many [censored] managers come through here.")
Even so, he could have saved his job had he just won a few games at the right time. He did manage to put the team into a tie for first place in the National League East as late as June 3, but barely three weeks later the team was in the cellar where they would finish. All told, Miami posted a 69-93 record, third worst in the team's 19 full seasons.
Guillen has not yet commented publicly, but it would be worth baseball fans' while to keep an eye on his often-unhinged Twitter feed. Any reaction he has is likely to show up there soon.
Others haven't been quite so reticent. Pitcher Ricky Nolasco threw up a since-deleted tweet that left no doubt about his feelings on the matter:
Yeah, this is going to be interesting to watch.
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