Ozzie appears set to manage Marlins

Ozzie appears set to manage Marlins

MIAMI -- On the day Jack McKeon retired as Marlins manager, reports were rampant that Ozzie Guillen -- who was released from his contract with the White Sox following their win over the Blue Jays on Monday night -- would take his place in 2012.

"It's something you have to close the page, pass the page and move on," said Guillen, who finished with a 678-617 record with the White Sox. "That's life. Hopefully the next book treats me the same way this book treated me. That's all I really care [about].

"Like I told people, I know I can manage anywhere I want. I went through a lot of things here."

Although the Marlins didn't make any official announcement after losing, 6-4, to the Nationals on Monday night at Sun Life Stadium, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Guillen will be at the helm for the Marlins. The manager had prepared a statement for his blog, "Ozzie Speaks," in the event that a deal with the Marlins became official, but that has not yet happened. The post was inadvertently published for five minutes late Monday night. He also tweeted on Tuesday: "Weird to be in Miami in this time, but very happy ready to go."

Although the Marlins didn't make any official announcement after losing, 6-4, to the Nationals on Monday night at Sun Life Stadium, McKeon inevitably was asked about Guillen.

Guillen, the White Sox manager from 2004 through Monday night, was the Marlins' third-base coach in 2002-03.

"We certainly cannot thank Ozzie enough for all he has done during his eight seasons as manager of the Chicago White Sox, highlighted by an unforgettable 2005 World Series championship," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a club press release. "I personally appreciate everything he has done for this organization, our fans and the city of Chicago. We shared the greatest moments together and wish him nothing but future success in baseball and in life."

There is speculation the Marlins will make the signing of Guillen official after Wednesday's season finale at Sun Life Stadium, and according to a baseball source, the deal is believed to be for $8 million over two years. According to a different source, an infielder, believed to be Osvaldo Martinez, and a Minor League pitcher are thought to be involved in the deal for Guillen. Joey Cora is also believed to be joining Guillen as his bench coach in Miami.

In 2012, the Marlins are moving into their retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami, and on Nov. 11., the club will officially become the Miami Marlins.

McKeon, who plans on remaining in the organization in an advisory position, has high praise for Guillen, who was on McKeon's staff during Florida's 2003 World Series season.

"I like Ozzie," McKeon said. "I think he's a very, very intelligent manager. I think he was a very smart player. I think he'll do well. He's done well. I think he's a good man. I like him. He's a good baseball man."

The Marlins, who fell to 71-89 after Monday's loss, are looking for veteran manager experience as the franchise moves into its new building. Securing Guillen is expected to be the first step in restoring the Marlins into a contending franchise.

The club anticipates boosting up payroll to roughly $80 million next year.

"I don't think he's going to bring anything," McKeon said of Guillen. "The players are going to bring it. Ozzie's a colorful guy. You guys [media, fans] will love him. You'll have a lot to write about, talk about.

"He's a colorful guy, and he knows this game. And what he can bring is like anything else. Good managers are good managers because of good players."

From his previous working experience, McKeon likes the way Guillen interacts with players.

"I liked the way he was able to control the players, especially the Latin players," McKeon said. "He wasn't afraid to jump on them and encourage them, but also try to help him. He wasn't worried about being their friend. He'd tell it like it is. And that's Ozzie. That's what reminds me of another guy [Jack McKeon]. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has said since July that he wants someone with previous big league managerial experience. Guillen certainly offers that, plus a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

"I think it helps managing whether it be in the high Minors or in the Major Leagues," McKeon said. "I think that's an asset. I know I spent 15 years in the Minor Leagues, and I thought it was a blessing. Be able to run through each situation many times and learn by your mistakes and fail many times, and you learn from it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Scott Merkin contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.