Marlins fire Guillen after 'disappointing' season
MIAMI - The struggling Miami Marlins have fired manager Ozzie Guillen after just one season on the job, the Major League Baseball team said on Tuesday.
Guillen, hired last year to help kickstart a team that has not made the playoffs since winning the World Series in 2003, led Miami to a disappointing 69-93 record, which left them in last place in the National League East division.
"After careful consideration following the disappointment of the 2012 season, we decided to dismiss Ozzie," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest 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."
Guillen, who signed four-year deal with the Marlins in 2011, was considered the ideal frontman for the relaunch of franchise that moved into a new ballpark in central Miami this year and changed their name from the Florida Marlins.
A brash, talkative Venezuelan, Guillen's personality was seen as an ideal fit for a club trying to make itself relevant to the Latin community but he quickly ran into problems.
In April, Guillen was suspended for five games by his own club after praising Cuba's Fidel Castro with comments that offended many in Miami's large Cuban exile community.
"I love Fidel Castro," Guillen told Time magazine's online edition. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years but that mother (expletive) is still here."
In an effort to make amends, Guillen, 48, traveled to Miami where he held a lengthy press conference and said the comments were the biggest mistake of his life and that he had not slept for three days as a result.
While the incident was never forgotten it was the on-the-field failings of a Marlins team entered the season with lofty expectations that ultimately cost Guillen his job.
The Marlins signed closer Heath Bell, shortstop Jose Reyes and left-hander Mark Buehrle to big deals in free agency, as they looked to build a team capable of reaching the playoffs.
But after a great start with 21 wins in May, the Marlins faded fast and traded one of their most popular players, shortstop Hanley Ramirez, to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Guillen was a third-base coach when the Marlins won a World Series in 2003 and won another championship with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, their first title win since 1917.