In what was the only fitting end for a disastrous season, the Miami Marlins fired manager Ozzie Guillen today. They announced it to the world via Twitter, and included a photo of a sad-faced Guillen in the tweet for good measure. And make no mistake: that face is a fitting summation for how Guillen’s lone season in Miami went. We went over much of what went wrong for the Marlins in this post: went on a spending spree for once, moved into a brand new taxpayer-financed stadium… and promptly finished in last place, earning fans’ ire.
And that doesn’t even get into what happened with Guillen himself: most notably, there was the Castro thing and the ensuing suspension. There was the “lost 93 games with a much-improved collection of talent” thing. And there was a classic Guillen-player feud (though, in fairness, Marlins players seemed to come out on Guillen’s side on that one).
And the players supporting Guillen in “Guillen v. Heath Bell” raises the question: how much of this season was actually Guillen’s fault? Arguably, not much. Really, it’s arguable that blaming any manager for a team’s ills (even, possibly, Bobby Valentine with the Red Sox this season) is overly simplistic. A manager can only do so much, and Guillen certainly seemed to have some players in his corner even in non-Heath-Bell-related matters.
But even if Guillen’s no more than an easy scapegoat here, it probably wasn’t going to do him or the Marlins any good to bring him back next year. The Marlins were supposed to get a fresh start this year. After seeing how that went, it’s pretty clear they need another. Getting rid of Guillen shouldn’t be the only move they make, but a change at the top couldn’t make things any worse. Bringing back a guy who’d start next season already on the hottest of hot seats? That could have been a disaster, for both parties.