On Tuesday, before his 18-games-under-.500 squad won their 66th game of the season, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen addressed the speculation that his job could be in jeopardy thanks to his team's disappointing season. He opened by saying he is glad he rented a house in Miami when he was hired just over a year ago.
Though he expects to return for the 2013 season, Guillen understands why others might question his job security. "At this moment everybody in the organization ought to be up in the air," Guillen said Tuesday. "It's not up to me. If it's up to me, I'd love to be here."
The Marlins doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in new contracts over the winter, expecting to field a playoff contender in conjunction with the opening of Marlins Park and a massive rebranding effort. Instead, the Marlins sit squarely in the NL East cellar with just two weeks to go in the season.
"Everybody at this moment should be upset, mad and disappointed," Guillen said.
The team has already made significant changes. Earlier this summer, impending free agent pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante were traded to Detroit for prospects. The hope was that the Marlins could bolster their lineup in future years while Sanchez and Infante were still available as trade chips.
But that move paled in comparison to the trade of former franchise cornerstone Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In exchange for LA assuming all of the $31.5 million due to Ramirez in 2013 and 2014, the Marlins received just two prospects.
Could Guillen be the next Marlin on his way out? Team president David Samson said in August that owner Jeffrey Loria is expected to consider significant changes this offseason. Loria has declined to talk publicly about possible changes.
Guillen says he is chiefly responsible for the Marlins' disappointing performance. "I take the blame 100 percent," he said.
Some might consider that admirable, considering that Guillen was not on the mound for any of the team's 20 blown saves or at the plate when the team hit .236 with runners in scoring position.
Even so, Guillen's contract might be the thing that saves his job. He reportedly signed with the Marlins for $12 million over four years last fall, and the Marlins must pay that entire number whether he sits on the bench or not.
Since the Marlins have experienced less of a revenue windfall with the opening of the new stadium (thanks to fan apathy after the team began to fall in the standings in June), Loria might be reluctant to pay another manager while also paying Guillen for three more years.