Search for Ozzie replacement includes Redmond
MIAMI — The search for a new Marlins’ manager is well underway, as the organization looks to move quickly to replace Ozzie Guillen, who was dismissed on Tuesday.
The expectation is Miami will be seeking a more reserved, lower-profile figure in their dugout.
An early frontrunner is Mike Redmond, a former backup catcher who has ties to the organization. The 41-year-old previously was with the Marlins from 1998-2004. He backed up Ivan Rodriguez on the Marlins’ 2003 World Series title team.
Redmond retired after the 2010 season, and he managed Toronto’s Class A Dunedin squad this season.
Bryan Price, 50, also is in the mix.
Price is a respected pitching coach of the Reds, and he has a connection with Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest dating back to when they were both in Seattle.
Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, 55, is another possibility.
The only two members of Guillen’s staff returning are Joe Espada (third base) and Reid Cornelius (bullpen).
The Marlins are not retaining bench coach Joey Cora, hitting coach Eduardo Perez, pitching coach Randy St. Claire and first base coach Gary Thurman.
The Marlins may bring back Perry Hill to coach the infield.
Beinfest made it clear that previous big league managing experience isn’t a top priority in the Marlins’ search, which is moving away from the direction the club went when they hired Guillen.
The decision on Tuesday to dismiss Guillen came after weeks of owner Jeffrey Loria deciding which direction the ballclub should be heading.
After putting together a high-priced, underperforming squad in 2012, the Marlins appear to be restructuring to be younger. If that indeed is the case, a responsibility for the new manager will also be instructing and developing.
Guillen wanted a second season, but after weeks of thinking things over, the change was made.
On Oct. 3, the last day of the Marlins’ season, Guillen said he was hopeful of returning for a second year in Miami. But he also accepted blame for the team’s failures, and noted he wasn’t in a position to make any demands.
“If I’m back, I have to make this thing better,” Guillen said on the final day of the season. “How’s it going to happen? Working harder. Maybe teaching them a little bit more. Maybe know the players a little bit better. Maybe expect better things out of the players. There’s a lot of things. I don’t worry about getting fired.”
Since late last week there were indications that Guillen’s days as Marlins’ manager were numbered. Front office members contacted potential coaches for positions on the staff, and Guillen was not part of the discussions.
The Marlins hired Guillen on Sept. 28, 2011, after the former big league infielder spent eight seasons managing the White Sox.
To get Guillen out of the final year of his contract with Chicago, the Marlins offered prospects Oswaldo Martinez and Jhan Marinez to the White Sox.
The Marlins signed Guillen to a four-year, $10 million contract, the richest contract for a manager in team history. He is still owed $7.5 million over the next three years.
After a disheartening last-place finish in ’11, the Marlins anticipated Guillen would provide leadership and energy to a franchise that was rebranding itself as the Miami Marlins.
Guillen had a history with the Marlins, having been their third base coach in 2002-03. In 2005, the Venezuelan native guided the White Sox to their first World Series title since 1917. He was named American League Manager of the Year.
Spending top dollar on Guillen was the start of the biggest spending spree in Marlins’ history. Last offseason, Miami was one of the most active teams in the free agent market, signing Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle for a combined $191 million.
Miami’s Opening Day roster was a club record $95 million.
But the team encountered trouble in Spring Training, with outfielders Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton each missing substantial time with knee injuries.
A couple of days into the regular season, Guillen was at the center of controversy for comments he made to Time Magazine regarding Fidel Castro.
The Marlins suspended their manager for five days.
On the field, the Marlins got off to a rough start, but they rebounded with a terrific May, where the club set a franchise record for wins in a month, going 21-8.
That was the highlight of the season, which turned south in June. The Marlins went 8-18 in the month, and never got back into serious contention.
Sensing the team was out of the race by the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Marlins dealt Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers on July 23. Two days later, Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate were sent to the Dodgers. And on July 31, Edward Mujica was moved to St. Louis, and on the same day Gaby Sanchez was traded to the Pirates.
Perhaps the prime reason Guillen wasn’t retained stems from the performance of Ramirez, a former three-time All-Star shortstop.
A big reason Guillen was hired was to bring out the best in veteran players like Ramirez, who won the National League batting title in 2009.
But Ramirez slumped, batting .246 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs at the time he was traded.
In the first half, the Marlins also dealt with a number of blown saves by Bell, who converted 19 of 25 chances before being switched to a setup role in the second half.
Bell and Guillen had disagreements over the course of the season, creating friction within the clubhouse.
On the last day of the season, Guillen told reporters that no matter what, he was planning on being at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
“I’ll be at the Winter Meetings, either with the team, or without the team,” Guillen said. “I will be at the Winter Meetings, either managing the Marlins, or at the Winter Meetings looking for a job.”
– Joe Frisaro