Marlins Closing in on Ozzie Guillen Acquisition: The Fish Finally Reeled in Their ManBy
Update — 12:25 PM: Per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, it looks like the White Sox will be acquiring Ozzie Martinez in exchange for Guillen plus a minor league pitcher. This obviously contradicts some of what I said below, but at least Martinez isn’t a “make-a-difference” prospect like some suggested would be on the move. Ozzie Martinez, to me, never had a role for the Marlins and probably never would, and despite donning new colors in 2012 he still might not even deserve a starting role. Martinez doesn’t have one tool that stands out but plays good defense and has some speed. Still, I can’t see him being anything more than a backup middle infielder. As for the pitcher heading to Chicago, I would expect it wouldn’t be Josh Hodges, Chad James, Brad Hand and so on. As I said below, the Marlins can’t trade the future for a manager.
3:37 AM: The “when it rains, it pours” saying always seems rather comparable to a day filled with ever-flowing Marlins news. When controversy surrounds the Fish, it generally turns catastrophic, or at least incredibly dramatic. In any case, yesterday was another one of those days. Don’t be ashamed to admit you might have missed the news. If so, you probably spent the day’s entirety laying in bed with your eyes closed. To quickly sum everything up, I might as well begin with the announcement of Jack McKeon’s retirement. Trader Jack called it a career after several decades of involvement in major league baseball, and in a corresponding move, the Marlins received the man they’ve long been eyeballing. That would be Ozzie Guillen, and this took place after the White Sox “released him from his contract.” That’s the big story, and the one that highlighted this day in baseball, but don’t forget Omar Infante, who inked a two-year deal with the Fish. Anyway, let’s dig in to what’s most important.
My first reaction to McKeon’s decision to retire was “well, damn, now we have to deal with the ongoing rumors of Espada and other coaches in consideration for the job.” While I do tend to believe that managers don’t have as much of an impact on the game as people might imagine, I’ve long ridden the “the Marlins need a veteran manager” train. With that said, for some odd reason I did not have Ozzie Guillen in mind, simply because I couldn’t imagine that move actually gaining momentum, much less happening. Why? Well, I just had a tough time believing Guillen would leave the Sox for the lowly Marlins, granted it’s geographically close to his palatial estate. And guess what, people? He didn’t leave — he got fired, so I’m not that crazy after all.
Despite flurrying rumors that “this and that guy” were heading to the Southside as part of the deal, each and every Fish prospect could stay put. According to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, “The White Sox retain rights to compensation should Guillen accept a managerial position with another Major League team in 2012.” So what that means is that even though Guillen was sacked and released, the Marlins will still have to pay the White Sox green for his services. With that said, we did hear rumors that Kenny Williams wanted a “pretty decent prospect” and that “there were two minor leaguers leaving the Marlins organization.” That would have been rather silly, especially if it was a decent prospect like some reports suggested. The Marlins have set their sights on Guillen for who knows how long, but mortgaging the future, at least in my opinion, is inexcusable when trading for a manager. We’re talking about a manager. Not a player. A manager. Let’s be real…
The potential acquisition of Ozzie Guillen also displayed some significance. For the past few seasons but especially in 2011, the Marlins couldn’t do anything right. Even when things were going well, an annoyance always got in the way whether it be a heartbreaking injury or just bad Marlins luck (stupid, dumb luck dragon). This time, the Marlins got their man. Sure, the Guillen acquisition might be rather surprising, and there will definitely be those who disagree with the move. But the Marlins management had dreams of Guillen wearing rainbow, black and teal (still don’t get it) for the longest time, and Loria can finally express his excitement and encouragement regarding the Marlins preparation for 2012.
I’ve already seen on Twitter the jokes being made about Guillen and his mouth or his potential interaction with Logan Morrison. And you know, it’s incredibly annoying and ignorant. Sure, there will always be low expectations and jokes being thrown around when you have one of the most controversial managers in sports about to possess one of the strangest managerial seats of one of the weirdest teams in sports, but what can you do? If I’m a Marlins fan, I’m damn excited about this new change in management. With an experienced manager, albeit a loud one, and Joey Cora occupying the Florida home dugout next season it’s really hard not to be excited. At least be open-minded.