SBD/October 24, 2012/Franchises

Marlins Part Ways With Guillen; Beinfest Cites "Cumulative" Reasons For Decision

Guillen had just 69 wins in his lone season as Marlins manager
Ozzie Guillen yesterday was “fired by the Marlins" after just one season as their manager, receiving the news “in a phone call" from Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, according to Clark Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. Beinfest said parting with Guillen was an "organizational decision." However, sources said that the “final say rested with owner Jeffrey Loria.” Sources said that off the field “there were ‘myriad reasons’ for Guillen’s fall from grace.” Among them were “his failure to connect with the community, his lack of clubhouse leadership, his failure to motivate, and his inability to get along with everyone from Loria on down to members of the front office.” Yesterday's decision came "just 13 months after the Marlins traded two minor-leaguers" to the White Sox in return for Guillen, and signed the manager to a four-year deal worth $10M. The team’s next manager “will be the fifth for the Marlins since June 2010, and eighth since Loria gained ownership of the franchise in 2002.” Only the Mariners “have had as many managers in that time” (MIAMI HERALD, 10/24). In West Palm Beach, Joe Capozzi reports Beinfest “admitted that a phone call was not the ideal way to fire a manager.” But the World Series starts today, and MLB “frowns on big announcements during the playoffs.” The timing “highlights the eagerness of the front office to move forward, starting with a long-planned meeting” with Loria tomorrow in N.Y. “to discuss next season.” Under Loria, the Marlins have "had just one manager who lasted for at least three consecutive seasons -- Fredi Gonzalez (2007-June 2010)." Beinfest said, "Ideally, yes, it would be outstanding to have a manager down there for a number of years and win." He added that he "did not think the constant turnover will scare away potential candidates” (PALM BEACH POST, 10/24).

GIMME ONE REASON: Beinfest said Guillen was let go for a "cumulative" number of things, including the "overall disappointment with the record.” He added that it “wouldn’t be fair to say he was ousted primarily" because of his comments regarding Fidel Castro. FOXSPORTSFLORIDA.com’s Chris Tomasson wrote, “You have to wonder if Guillen, who had three years left on his contract, would have been given at least another season on the job had he never said it.” The Marlins "will have to pay off" the remaining $7.5M on Guillen’s contract, but "who knows how much money was lost this season or could have been lost in the future due to fans having been turned off by Guillen’s remark?” (FOXSPORTSFLORIDA.com, 10/23). The AP’s Steven Wine reported Marlins officials “believe the damage” from the Castro remark “was lasting.” The officials “blame disappointing attendance at the new ballpark in part over lingering fan resentment about the Castro comments” (AP, 10/23). The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers said, "Loria hired him to be salesman and to be a marketable guy, and Ozzie cut that right off from the start with the stupid comments about getting a kick out of Fidel Castro’s toughness, about the dumbest thing you can say in South Florida” (“Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 10/23). SportsNet N.Y.'s Chris Carlin said Guillen's tenure "was pretty much over" after the Castro comments ("Loud Mouths,” SportsNet N.Y., 10/23). Meanwhile, ESPN CHICAGO’s Bruce Levine wrote Loria “hated being called out by his manager in September,” when Guillen said that “everyone from the owner on down was responsible for the lost season.” The “easily provoked Loria apparently made up his mind at that point to cut bait and bite the bullet" on the money still owed to Guillen (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 10/23).

FIGHTING FISH: In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes under the header, “Guillen Is Fired, But Loria Is The Problem.” Inside the Marlins offices, there are “two groups of people.” There are “those who think team owner Jeffrey Loria is doing an increasingly shabby job of running the franchise," and "there is Jeffrey Loria.” Hyde: “Is there a plan here? Any consistency of thinking? Anything to warrant confidence for Marlins fans?” If Loria “wanted to fire Guillen for that quote and the way it simmered in South Florida, he should have done so at the time.” But if Loria “wanted to fire someone for this ugly season, if his finger was twitching so badly he needed to find some righteous blame, there were more far relevant targets than Guillen” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/24). Hyde in a separate piece wrote, "Loria keeps going through managers like dinner napkins. And good ones like Joe Girardi and Fredi Gonzalez, too.” Hyde: “Be forewarned, whoever takes the job next. And get a big guarantee in your contract” (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 10/23). In Miami, Linda Robertson writes Guillen “did not get a fair shot under the impatient Loria.” Guillen “could have been a good fit for Miami, and the same could be said for" Girardi and Gonzalez (MIAMI HERALD, 10/24). SI.com's Jay Jaffe wrote while Guillen "deserves his share of the blame, a greater share must lie with Loria and Beinfest, who knew exactly what they were getting when they hired a manager whose attention to the dugout already appeared to be wavering." Jaffe: "They’ll have to find a new way to bring fans out to their park, because home run whirligigs and profane managers aren’t enough" (SI.com, 10/23). ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden wrote the Marlins’ next hire "will be a tough one because no proven skipper will want to go there since there is no job security” (ESPN.com, 10/23).

GOOD RIDDANCE: In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes, “Don’t blame Jeffrey Loria for this one on anything but the timing.” The “easiest thing to do is criticize Loria as a team owner who goes through dugout bosses without compunction.” But “here’s the pertinent question in this case: What took him so long?” (PALM BEACH POST, 10/24). In Miami, Barry Jackson wrote Marlins execs “want a manager who would foster a more serious clubhouse culture, instill more discipline and professionalism in his players, and be a better motivator than Guillen” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 10/23). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said Loria fired Guillen because he “just got tired of him.” But ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, “I’m stunned it’s over this quick” (“PTI,” ESPN, 10/23).
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