The regular season concludes today, but the Miami (formerly known as the Florida Marlins) Marlins have started the off-season off with a bang. Miami was the scene last summer when the Miami Heat signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh, while re-signing Dwayne Wade. The Marlins are trying to form their own “big 3”, which would potentially consist of all Chicago products.
In case you have been under a cave for the past two days–or your hatred for the Chicago White Sox is so deep that you avoid any and all White Sox news–the Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams power struggle is over. On Monday, the White Sox completed a trade–yes, a trade–sending manager Ozzie Guillen to the Florida Marlins in exchange for two minor league prospects. Before we analyze what affect Guillen managing the Marlins has on the Cubs as far as their baseball roster, lets first take a moment to give Guillen a proper sendoff.
Guillen’s entertainment had a global impact on Chicago baseball. Guillen was an excellent manager, though, that fact has been lost amid all the baggage that Guillen brings with him in addition to managing. However, as a Cubs fan, I always admired the type of manager that Guillen is. There are many that criticize Guillen for his personality, but that personality is what makes Guillen a successful as a manager. Guillen is willing to say anything if it mean that the attention would be on him instead of his team, and that is something that every player would love. Though, that same mentality may be what lead to Guillen’s abrupt departure from the White Sox organization. Regardless, with Guillen no longer apart of the daily Chicago baseball routine, his absence will be felt when the Cubs and White Sox take the field next season in the cross-town series.
Guillen’s arrival in Miami, could lead to a couple of current Cubs players joining the Marlins this winter. It is no secret that the Cubs are going to trade Carlos Zambrano this winter, and after failing to find a taker for Zambrano last July, the Cubs may finally have a taker in the Marlins. Zambrano has long been a good friend of Guillen, and that friendship could lead the Cubs and Marlins into making a deal this winter involving the controversial starting pitcher.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune first connected Zambrano to the Guillen-led Marlins, writing that there is a good chance that Zambrano will end up with the Marlins before the 2012 season starts. The sooner Zambrano is traded, the better. Though, a Zambrano trade will likely have to wait until a new general manager is in place. The Marlins, however, would be a good trading partner for the Cubs. The Marlins have had their own saga this season involving Logan Morrison, and there is a consensus around the baseball industry that the Marlins will look to trade Morrison this winter. Morrison has struggled this season as he put up a line of .247/.330/.468 to go along with 23 home runs and 72 RBIs. Morrison is also a prolific tweeter, so when you combine his slump with his openness on twitter, Morrison has fallen out of grace with the Marlins. The Cubs would likely have to kick in another prospect or two in addition to Zambrano if they hope to acquire Morrison.
Meanwhile, Aramis Ramirez also is open to the idea of signing with the Marlins in the off-season. The Marlins expressed interest in Ramirez before Guillen was hired, so one could suggest that their interest in Ramirez may have increased with Guillen in place as the manager. In fact, with Guillen in place, it sounds like Ramirez is leaning towards signing with the Marlins.
"Guillen will soon be named the Marlins new manager, according to a source, and he will be pushing owner Jeffrey Loria to sign some big-time run producers. The Cubs’ soon-to-be free agent Ramirez may be a perfect fit in South Florida.“Some people might not like Ozzie because he’s honest about his players in the media,” Ramirez said. “But here’s the bottom line — he’s a winner. He’s won before and the reason he’s going to Florida is they want to win there and they think he’s the best answer.”Ramirez said he would have no problem playing for Guillen in the future.“Look, I’ve never had a problem with any manager,” Ramirez said. “I just go out there and do my work and play the game. But Ozzie’s a smart guy. He takes pressure off of his players by keeping the media busy with his quotes. Some people think he’s just talking about himself and for no reason. But he keeps the media busy and away from his players because by the time he’s done, they have so much to write and talk about that they can’t wait to go upstairs and start transcribing what he told them. The media, they don’t talk much about [Paul] Konerko or [Adam] Dunn. They just talk about what Ozzie said and ‘Ozzie being Ozzie.’ “ ESPN Chicago"
Ramirez is definitely onto something. The reason Guillen is so popular among players, is because he puts the media attention on himself rather then on the players. That would especially bode well for Ramirez. Ramirez has faced a high amount of media and fan scrutiny in recent seasons for his lack of effort while playing the game, and the third baseman would benefit from a manager who protects his players from the media. However, Guillen does hold veteran players accountable. There have been several occasions this season where Guillen has removed a veteran from a game for lack of hustle, and Guillen has also been willing to bench slumping veterans. However, the Florida climate should benefit Ramirez–who usually struggled during the cooler months of the season in April and May.
A thank you is in order for Guillen, as with him going to the Marlins, he has created the opportunity for both Ramirez and Zambrano to finally leave the Cubs’ organization.