Miami nice: Marlins introduce Guillen as skipper
Former White Sox manager inks four-year deal with Florida
MIAMI -- A new voice, new leader and renewed energy has landed with the Marlins.
Ozzie Guillen was named the Marlins' manager on Wednesday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.
The vocal, enthusiastic and sometimes controversial skipper has signed a four-year contract, two days after being released from his deal with the White Sox, which ended an eight-year association with them.
"Welcome to a new era in Marlins baseball," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "As you all know we are celebrating two things today: Closing our time here at Sun Life Stadium and the introduction of my friend, Ozzie, over here."
Two sources told MLB.com that Guillen's deal is worth about $10 million, at about $2.5 million a season.
The hiring comes on the final day the Marlins play at Sun Life Stadium, their home for 19 seasons. Next year, the Marlins move into their 37,000-seat, retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami.
Guillen made it clear he is in town to provide some passion and life to the market.
"My goal is when fans leave the ballpark, they want to come back and watch the ballclub," he said. "As soon as they get out [they say], 'I'm going to bring my kids out to watch those guys play because they've got energy, they play hard.'"
Because the White Sox retained their rights to Guillen, they received two prospects -- infielder Ozzie Martinez and right-handed reliever Jhan Marinez -- from the Marlins. The Marlins received Minor League right-hander Ricardo Andres in return.
Technically, the transaction, which was finalized on Thursday, was not a trade.
After being released from his contract on Monday, Guillen technically could have negotiated with any interested team. He arrived with his wife and children to South Florida on Tuesday.
The Marlins negotiated on Tuesday from 2:45 p.m. ET at the new ballpark. Guillen turned down the first offer, and the sides reached agreement at 10:48 p.m., when Guillen and his family were back at their hotel.
Guillen brings a definite edge, and a tough, speak-his-mind style to a youthful team.
The Venezuelan native is about winning. He won World Series titles as a coach (Marlins in 2003) and manager (White Sox in '05). As a player in 1999, he was on the Braves team that lost to the Yankees in the World Series.
But Guillen made it clear, managing is a job, and he wants to make money.
"My biggest satisfaction in this game is rings," Guillen said. "My goal is to have more money."
Fiery and energetic, the 47-year-old Guillen provides high-profile presence for the franchise as it moves into its new ballpark.
"He not only lights a fire, but he brings a passion, and he brings a tremendous amount of respect," Loria said. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. That's why he is here."
On Nov. 11, the club will officially change to the Miami Marlins, and Guillen is the first of many changes expected as the team looks to rebuild into a contender.
"We needed more energy here and going into our new ballpark," Loria said. "Everything is about timing, and it just happened to all work."
A former All-Star shortstop, Guillen was the Marlins' third-base coach in 2002-03.
After the Marlins won the 2003 World Series, Guillen was hired to manage the White Sox.
In 2005, he guided Chicago to the World Series title, and the Venezuelan native won the American League Manager of the Year in the process.
"Players like to play for me," Guillen said. "Maybe two or three guys don't, because they don't go about it the right way. But if you play for me, you're going to have fun.
Guillen noted that since he stepped away from Chicago, White Sox ace Mark Buehrle said how much he was missed.
"I've got Mark Buerhle. The first thing he says was, 'I wish that Ozzie was here.' That's your ace," Guillen said. "That gives me more satisfaction than anything else. That's the goal. If they don't like me, I respect that. But I have more players respect me. If they don't like me, that's fine. I may not like them either."
In recent days, Guillen said his family has received a number of messages from players saying they'd like to play in Miami.
Guillen jokes that he doesn't sign the checks, and it isn't his call.
By being outspoken, Guillen has the tendency to direct attention away from his players and onto himself.
"I'm here to be criticized because that's our job to be criticized and second guessed," he said. "I let the players play ball and blame me."
Guillen was 678-617 in his tenure with the White Sox, including a 78-82 mark this season.
The Marlins are still putting together a coaching staff. Only three slots are filled. Joey Cora is leaving Chicago to join Guillen in Miami as the bench coach.
Pitching coach Randy St. Claire will be back, as well as hitting coach Eduardo Perez.
The rest of the staff is expected to be finalized sometime before the end of October. Joe Espada (third base/outfield), Perry Hill (first base/infield), Reid Cornelius (bullpen), Brandon Hyde (bench), and Jeffrey Urgelles (bullpen catcher) are all being reviewed.
The Marlins are at a pivotal point in their history.
After finishing last in the National League East, to return to playoff prominence, the franchise will look to restock its roster.
In the new building, the payroll projects to rise from $58 million this year to about $80 million.
"We're disappointed," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "We wanted to build momentum as we're moving into the new ballpark. It didn't happen. We have some work to do. I think [this time] is very important."
|"Players like to play for me. Maybe two or three guys don't, because they don't go about it the right way. But if you play for me, you're going to have fun."|
|-- Ozzie Guillen|
Guillen's hiring came the day after the Marlins signed second baseman Omar Infante to a two-year, $8 million contract. And in 2012, the franchise plans on having Josh Johnson (right shoulder) and Hanley Ramirez (left shoulder) healthy.
"Ozzie signing. Omar signing," Beinfest said. "Getting a healthy JJ back, and getting Hanley back, and the moves that we make this winter. This is an important year. We really want to make a good showing. We want to get back to October, and do all of those things.
"The ballpark is the ballpark. It's going to be a big attraction, but we want the product on the field also to be."
The Marlins will be looking to add established players, but all Guillen asks for is players to play the game right and give effort.
"I don't need veterans, I need good players," Guillen said. "I need players who care, to be in the same room rooting for each other. I don't need veteran players, I need guys who go out there and play the game right. I'm willing to manage whatever club they put out there because this is my new job and I'm ready.
"I have a lot confidence, which is why I'm called cocky. Just give me the ballclub and let's go for it."
Guillen replaces interim manager Jack McKeon, who announced his retirement on Monday. McKeon, 80, took over the club on June 20 after Edwin Rodriguez resigned.
Guillen was on McKeon's staff in '03, and he played a crucial role, dealing especially with Latin players like Miguel Cabrera, Luis Castillo and Alex Gonzalez.
"Ozzie was good in the area of dealing with the Latin players," McKeon said. "They respected him. I've said all along, the best guys that I've ever had in dealing with the Latin players were Ozzie and Sandy Alomar.
"They were your friend, yet they were not afraid to get on them and to tell them that what they were doing was unacceptable, and that they were better than that. A lot of players want to be your friend."
One of Guillen's objectives will be to get the most out of Ramirez, who batted a career-low .243 before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
"To me, Hanley Ramirez is the biggest piece of the puzzle," Guillen said. "My job is to make this guy put a smile on his face, enjoy this game and enjoy the game the way it should be played. Not the way Ozzie thinks it should be played, but the way it should be played. A lot of kids look up to him, I look up to him myself ... but there's one thing I've got to tell you: This kid is going to be back to where he was and he's going to be playing the game the way it should be played. ... This kid is one that might take off to the prime-time."
McKeon, also known for being fiery, says when a coach or a manager gets on a player, it is to get improvement.
"It's constructive criticism, it's not destructive," McKeon said. "I'm doing it for your benefit. I'm not doing it because I don't like you.
"If you let everybody continue to be non-productive, and you want to do that stuff, that's not my job. My job is to jump you, make you better. Make you realize that this is the way to do it. It's not going to be tolerated to be comfortable and not work at your job. If they think that is criticism, so be it."
The hiring of Guillen breaks a trend by the organization to go with candidates without previous big league managing experience.
McKeon was the last candidate to step in having previously guided a big league club.
After McKeon stepped down after the 2005 season, Joe Girardi took over in '06, followed by Fredi Gonzalez from 2007-10. Rodriguez was promoted from Triple-A to replace Gonzalez in June 2010.
When Rodriguez stepped down, Loria stated he wanted his next manager to be a leader with a big league managing resume.
Guillen had been a possibility last October, but because he was still under contract with the White Sox, the clubs discussed compensation. Although there were rumors that a trade of Guillen for outfielder Mike Stanton was rumored, those reports weren't true.
The White Sox did seek Logan Morrison, but the Marlins weren't interested in parting with a highly regarded young player.
Under Guillen, the youthful Marlins can expect to be pushed to work hard.
"He's going to make everybody play hard," said Javier Vazquez, who played for Guillen with the White Sox in 2006-07. "He's a tough manager, a good manager. He's going to be good. He's going to be good for the team."
Guillen brings star power to the franchise that competes in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
"He's a colorful guy," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We are very, very good friends. I've known him since he was 18. He is colorful. He is outspoken. But his passion for the game, his love for the game -- he manages like he played sometimes, and that's all-out with a little flair to it. It will be fun."