Miami Marlins: Ozzie Guillen's Biggest Blunders in His First Season as Manager
Among the most expensive new faces brought to Miami this last offseason, Ozzie Guillen was probably the cheapest in salary but brought the most baggage.
You could point the blame towards a number of different people within the Marlins organization for the failure in their first season as the Miami Marlins.
The Marlins ownership and baseball scouts decided Hanley Ramirez wasn't worth the headache and decided to ship him out to Los Angeles. They also shipped out Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit for some hopeful prospects in Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly.
You could point the blame at the players who seemingly underperformed while they were here. Hanley Ramirez (while he was in Miami), Josh Johnson, Heath Bell, Carlos Zambrano amongst others played less than expected.
The person you could blame the most for the Marlins terrible play is manager Ozzie Guillen. The outspoken manager who came to Miami with the intention of winning a championship will now finish the season in last place.
Here are five of the biggest blunders Ozzie Guillen has made in his first season as manager for the Marlins.
Agreeing to Be Featured on "The Franchise"
It may not have been Ozzie's decision to accept the offer to be featured on Showtime's, "The Franchise", but he certainly had a say in it.
As much as it made sense at the time—new ballpark, players, brand name, etc—it was not the best baseball decision.
The show exploited the inner workings of the ballclub that could have been spared to the public. It showed the frustrations between the players and coaches which turned out to be more of a negative than a positive.
Similarly to how the Miami Dolphins decision to be featured on "Hard Knocks" has shown their weaknesses while building the team, the same can be said for the Miami Marlins. My guess is if they had the chance to take back their decision to be featured on a reality series while trying to transition into their first year with Ozzie at the helm, they would.
Fidel Castro Comments
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When Ozzie Guillen uttered the phrase "I love Fidel Castro" in a Time Magazine article, it was harmful in so many ways.
It created disgruntled fans and angered the general public of Miami just as the season began. Guillen was suspended five games and created a whirlwind of controversy as to whether or not he should have kept his job.
The turmoil surrounding the team following the comments probably took a toll on not only Guillen but the players in the clubhouse. It was certainly not the way the Marlins envisioned the start of the season and Guillen immediately regretted his actions.
As one of the most hurtful things you could say publicly in a Cuban-American populated area, it brought a sore start of the season that the team never rebounded from.
Trusting in Heath Bell
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Another circumstance that it wasn't Ozzie Guillen who offered Heath Bell a bloated free-agent contract, but it was Guillen who repeatedly made the mistake of playing him.
Bell has seven blown saves on the year with five losses and a 5.53 ERA. He got off to a bad start which should have been enough of a warning sign for Guillen to reduce his role as closer.
Instead, Guillen continued to use Bell as the closer and said the team would be better off with him in that role. His decision certainly backfired and cost the Marlins wins early on in the year.
Guillen finally decided to go to a closer by committee rotation but it seemed a little too late. The playoffs were too far out of reach and the damage had been done.
Not Being Able to Control Hanley
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When the Marlins brought in Jose Reyes from the New York Mets, Ozzie Guillen told everyone he could make the situation work with former SS Hanley Ramirez moving over to 3B.
Guillen said on many occasions that Hanley was the Marlins franchise player and the key to the season. Somewhere along the line, Guillen lost the ability to turn things around for Hanley.
Ramirez had a history of problems with the Marlins and had greatly underperformed in previous seasons. If anyone could help turn Hanley's attitude around in Miami, it should have been Ozzie Guillen.
Ozzie failed and eventually the organization lost patience with Ramirez and shipped him off to the Dodgers. His performance with the Dodgers have to make the Marlins cringe; he has 10 HR, 38 RBI and a .260 AVG in just 45 games with his new team.
Carlos Zambrano Experiment
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Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins acquired Carlos Zambrano and took the chance on the troubled player.
Zambrano started off the season as one of baseball's best stories while looking like the pitcher he used to be. Guillen seemed to have helped turn Zambrano's career around and the Marlins looked like they found another starter to bolster their rotation.
The wheels fell off for Zambrano as Guillen decided to move him to the bullpen as the season progressed. After Zambrano's hot start, his ERA has doubled and has struggled to control his pitches.
It doesn't look likely that the Marlins will bring Zambrano back next year, with the Cubs paying the majority of his contract in the last season of his five-year, $91.5 million deal.
While his attitude has surely calmed down from his fiery days in Chicago, his pitching performance has not improved. The Carlos Zambrano in Miami experiment will go down as a failure but at least it was worth a try. Right, Ozzie?