A last-place finish amid considerable turmoil in the Miami Marlins first season in their new downtown ballpark has cost manager Ozzie Guillen his job.
The Miami Marlins announced Tuesday that they have dismissed Guillen. The announcement was made by Marlins' President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest.
“After careful consideration following the disappointment of the 2012 season, we decided to dismiss Ozzie,” said Beinfest. “Our managerial search begins immediately and our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture.”
The Marlins went 69-93 in 2012, finishing last in the NL East.
Curiously, the manager that owner Jeffrey Loria traded two prospects to get just over a year ago and the closer he rushed to overpay and sign, Heath Bell, have been discarded within the past few days.
Guillen still has three years remaining on his contract worth $7.5 million. That may be easier to swallow after getting the Diamondbacks to take Bell and all but $8 million of the $21 million left on his deal.
The Marlins have now been through seven managers (including Jack McKeon twice) in the 11 years of Loria's ownership. He has fired four of them.
Things began to go arwy the first week of the season when it was revealed he had expressed admiration for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in a Time magazine story. He said at the end of the season that those remarks, which cost him a five-game suspension, were his lone regret.
In the waning weeks of the disappointing season, Guillen said repeatedly that he accepted responsibility for the team's poor showing, but insisted he wasn't concerned about being fired.
Asked in mid September if he expected to be back as manager in 2013, Guillen said, “Of course I do. 100 percent. I think I know what I’m doing, I know what I can do. I’m not afraid of this job, and I love the challenge. I like to fight, I like to figure out how we’re going to do it.”
During the last weekend of the season , he made it clear that he wanted to keep his job. He told reporters it would be unfair to fire him after one season.
“Nobody wants to get fired,” he said. “Do I worry about it? No. Do I care? Yes, I care.”
As to what he would do if the Marlins did dismiss him, he said, “I’ll sit in my house and watch bull fights all summer,” he said.
The day after the season ended, Guillen left for a vacation in Spain with plans to take in the bull fights.