White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is out the door in Chicago — and according to ESPN and other published reports — headed to South Florida to manage the Marlins when they open their new ballpark in April.
The White Sox confirmed late Monday that the team and Guillen have parted ways. “The White Sox have agreed to Ozzie Guillen’s request to be released from his contract, allowing the manager to pursue other opportunities,” the White Sox said in a statement.
ESPNChicago.com reported Guillen was traded to the Marlins for two minor-league players. The Marlins declined comment but did not deny the reports.
Guillen, who was the Marlins’s third-base coach during their run to the 2003 World Series and has long been a target of owner Jeffrey Loria, met with Reinsdorf on Monday and didn’t leave with the contract extension he sought beyond 2012. “I don’t think I earned it,” Guillen said.
Now, it appears the 47-year-old outspoken Venezuelan will be the Marlins next manager — and fourth since 2010. FoxSports is reporting Guillen will be given a three-year deal to manager the Marlins.
The Guillen news comes on the same day Marlins interim manager Jack McKeon announced his retirement.
During the seventh inning of Monday’s 6-4 loss against the Nationals, several Marlins fans in the crowd at Sun Life Stadium began chanting “Ozzie! Ozzie!”
Reinsdorf said in March the Marlins contacted the White Sox about trading for the manager, but the teams couldn’t agree on compensation. Guillen didn’t confirm the reports.
“I personally appreciate everything Ozzie has done for this organization, our fans and the city of Chicago,” White Sox team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. “We shared the greatest moments together and wish him nothing but future success in baseball and in life.”
Guillen did not confirm that he’s headed to the Marlins. But did talk about them before Monday’s game.
“You never hear me talk about [the Marlins],” Guillen said. “I never say the word ‘Marlins’ out of my mouth, no. That’s their problem.
“It’s not easy, like, OK, I want to get you, come here and do it.’ No, that’s a process. If the Marlins are interested in me, good for them. I’m open to anything.”
Guillen was believed to be in line to make around $2million next season with the White Sox. The team was expected to contend for the AL Central title this year, but has struggled to the third sub-.500 finish during Guillen’s eight-year tenure.
Guillen led the White Sox to the World Series in 2005 and has a record of 677-617. In 2003, he served as McKeonâ€™s third-base coach on a Marlins team that rallied to win the NL Wild Card and then the World Series in six games against the Yankees.
McKeon, who figures to remain as a consultant for the Marlins, said Monday he would have no say in who replaced him.
“I like Ozzie. I think he’s a very, very intelligent manager,” McKeon said after the Marlins 6-4 loss Monday night to the Nationals. “I think he’s a smart player, he was a smart player. I think he’ll do well. He’s done well. He’s a good man. I like him. I’m going to have to like him right?”
McKeon took over a Marlins team that had lost 10 consecutive games under Edwin Rodriguez and fell from second place into the NL East basement at 32-40 before Rodriguez abruptly resigned.
The Marlins eventually got back to .500 on Aug. 2 in New York but lost second baseman Omar Infante and shortstop Hanley Ramirez to injuries “and the season went downhill from there,” McKeon said.
The Marlins clinched last place in the division when they were swept by the Brewers during the weekend.
Asked what he thought Guillen could bring the Marlins, McKeon said: “You’ve got me. Ozzie isn’t going to bring anything. The players are going to bring it… Ozzie is a colorful guy. You guys will love him. You’ll have a lot to write about, talk about. He’s a colorful guy and he knows this game. What he can bring — it’s like anything else. Good managers are good because of good players.”
McKeon also said he like the way Guillen “was able to control the players, especially the latin players.”
“He wasn’t afraid to jump on ’em, encourage ’em, but also try to help them,” McKeon said. “He wasn’t worried about being their friend. He was going to tell it like it is. And that’s Ozzie. He tells it like it is. Sort of reminds me of another guy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Monday, Loria met with current third base coach Jose Espada for an interview. Former third-base coach Bo Porter, now with the Nationals, reportedly also was supposed to be interviewed.
McKeon became the second-oldest manager in baseball history said he’d like to come back to manage — if only to pass Connie Mack, who was older at 87 when he skippered the team he owned — the Philadelphia Athletics — in his last season of 1950.