Ozzie Guillen was fired Tuesday after one year as manager of the last-place Miami Marlins, whose promising season began to derail in April when his laudatory comments about Fidel Castro caused a backlash.
Miami’s next manager will be the fifth for owner Jeffrey Loria since early 2010. The Marlins still owe Guillen $7.5 million for the three years remaining on his contract.
‘‘After careful consideration following the disappointment of the 2012 season, we decided to dismiss Ozzie,’’ president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said in a statement. ‘‘Our managerial search begins immediately and our hope is that a new manager, along with roster improvements, will restore a winning culture.’’
The franchise supposedly was transformed by an offseason spending spree and the move into a new ballpark, and the Marlins expected to contend for a playoff berth. But a dismal June took the Marlins out of contention for good, and management dismantled the roster in July.
The season went sour from the start. Guillen’s comments praising Castro in a magazine interview angered Cuban Americans, who make up a large segment of the Marlins’ fan base. The Venezuelan manager apologized repeatedly at a news conference for his remarks about the former Cuban leader. Guillen then began a five-game suspension only five games into his stay with the team.
‘‘That was a very, very hard situation for me and the people around me,’’ Guillen said in September. ‘‘It was maybe the worst thing I ever did.’’
The Castro episode was a factor in the decision to fire Guillen, Beinfest said.
‘‘It was not a positive for the team; it was not a positive for Ozzie,’’ Beinfest said. ‘‘It was a disappointment, no doubt about it.’’
There had speculation that Beinfest’s job might also be in jeopardy, but he said he'll continue in his current role.
Guillen left the White Sox a year ago after eight seasons. Some 24 hours later he sealed a four-year deal with the Marlins, where he was a third-base coach for the 2003 World Series championship team.
‘‘I feel like I'm back home,’’ he said at the time.
Loria traded two minor league players to obtain Guillen and gave him a team-record $10 million, four-year deal.
But by June, the Marlins had fallen below .500 for good.
‘‘We all felt we had a pretty good ballclub coming out of spring training, and we just didn’t play well,’’ Beinfest said. ‘‘We all share in this. This is not a fun day for me, certainly not for Ozzie or Jeffrey or anybody involved. This is an organizational failure. But we felt like we needed to make this change so we could move forward.’’
Despite the frustrations of losing, the talkative, opinionated, profane Guillen kept his cool for the most part, and he repeatedly accepted responsibility for the team’s performance.
Mindful of speculation his job might be in jeopardy, he said two weeks before the end of the season he was glad he rented a house in Miami rather than buying.
‘‘With the job I did this year, do you think I deserve to be back here?’’ Guillen said on the final day of the season. ‘‘Of course not. But I'm not the only one. The front office failed, Ozzie failed, the coaching staff failed, the players failed, everybody failed.’’
White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year.
He batted only .204, but that was more than 40 points higher than the previous year. His 41 homers were 30 more than he hit in 2011. And he drove in 96 runs, more than twice his total a year earlier.
‘‘It’s an award I hope I never win again,’’ said Dunn, who has been around long enough to know that the only way a player wins that award is either because he is coming back from an injury or a miserable season. ‘‘I'm very appreciative of this award, but I really wish I never would have won it.’’
Dunn, 32, didn’t want to talk about 2011, when he had one of the worst statistical seasons in major league history, batting just .159 with a White Sox record 177 strikeouts. Instead, he reminded reporters that the player they saw in 2012 was a lot more like the player he once was.
Jansen has surgery
Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen underwent surgery on his heart to return it to normal rhythm. The team said that during Tuesday’s surgery at White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles the abnormal tissue in Jansen’s heart was identified and cauterized to stop the abnormal electrical signals sent from the area. After the nearly three-hour procedure, Jansen’s heart was in normal rhythm. He will remain in the hospital overnight and be released Wednesday. After seven to 10 days, Jansen can resume physical activity with no restrictions. Jansen spent a month on the disabled list during the 2011 season with an irregular heartbeat. The 22-year-old pitcher changed his diet and eliminated caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol. However, he experienced a similar problem in August and was hospitalized . . . The Cubs hired former major leaguer David Bell as their third base coach and removed the interim tag from hitting coach James Rowson . . . Nationals reliever Drew Storen is among six extra players eligible for salary arbitration this winter under baseball’s new labor contract. Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Mets catcher Josh Thole, Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, Rockies outfielder Tyler Colvin, and Diamondbacks third baseman Chris Johnson also are eligible.