Crazy train halted as Marlins fire Ozzie
Aside from the debatable wisdom of firing a historically successful manager after just one season, Marlins owner Jeff Loria has got to be doing some soul-searching today. Two of the managers whom Loria has previously fired both made the playoffs this season -- Joe Girardi with the New York Yankees, and Fredi Gonzales with the Atlanta Braves. Loria still owes Guillen $7.5 million, having fired him just one year into a four-year contract.
"After careful consideration following the disappointment of the 2012 season, we decided to dismiss Ozzie," Marlins president Larry Beinfest said in a statement announcing that Ozzie Guillen was fired. "Our managerial search begins immediately and our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture."
This was supposed to be the Marlins' year. They were re-branded as the Miami Marlins, got a new stadium, switched to new uniforms, hired Guillen, and added shortstop Jose Reyes, pitcher Mark Buehrle, and closer Heath Bell. They expected to contend, and actually won 21 games in May.
Things unraveled in June, when the Marlins went 8-18. It did not help that earlier in the season, Guillen infuriated the Marlins' Cuban-American fan base, saying, "I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (expletive deleted) is still here."
The Marlins play in a Miami neighborhood called Little Havana. Fidel Castro is not a very popular (expletive deleted) in that particular community. Guillen was suspended five games for the remarks.
At the trade deadline, the Marlins went into fire sale mode (again). Heath Bell and Hanley Ramirez were traded, and the team ended up losing nearly 100 games -- despite a franchise-record $93 million payroll.
When asked at season's end who was to blame for the Marlins' disastrous season, Guillen told the Miami Sun-Sentinel, "Front office failed. Ozzie failed. Coaching staff failed. The players failed. Everybody failed.
It's a free country, and a manager is allowed to say "Front office failed". The lesson is that when you say that, though, front office will not take kindly and will probably fire you.