White Sox release Ozzie from contract
Guillen expected to succeed McKeon as Marlins manager
CHICAGO -- After eight seasons, two American League Central titles, one World Series championship and countless entertaining moments on the South Side of Chicago, the White Sox agreed to manager Ozzie Guillen's request to be released from his contract. The move allowed the manager to pursue other opportunities.
Guillen is expected to be named the next manager of the Marlins, possibly as soon as Wednesday. Marlins manager Jack McKeon announced earlier Monday that he will retire when the season ends. Guillen 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.
Marlins hitting coach Eduardo Perez, Marlins third-base coach Joe Espada and Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter all interviewed for the Marlins' job Monday. As a condition of his release, the White Sox retained the right to compensation should Guillen accept a managerial position with another Major League team in 2012. If Guillen joins the Marlins, a source told MLB.com that the compensation is expected to be infielder Ozzie Martinez and Minor League pitcher Jhan Marinez.
"There is something in place in the event that one particular team gets him," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams of the potential return for Guillen. "But he's free to negotiate with anybody. He's free to talk to anybody at this point and time."
Monday night was not about Guillen's future, though, as much it was about his past and present. Guillen, who turns 48 in January, came to the White Sox on Nov. 3, 2003, as the team's 37th manager, and he pulled no punches from his opening news conference.
He gave honest responses to even the most controversial of questions and became a Chicago media sensation. And as the opinionated and entertaining White Sox leader said before his final game -- a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field -- those comments also caused the organization more than a few headaches.
"There's a lot of moments, especially arguing with umpires, that stick out," said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, the only captain under Guillen. "Loud on the bench, yelling at people. It will definitely be, probably no matter who comes in, it's going to be quieter, probably. I don't know how that's going to be, but there's definitely going to be some times when you're waiting to hear something and don't hear it."
"Awesome. No complaints. Yes it was, even the tough times," Guillen said. "I like to compete. I like to be criticized. I like to be second-guessed. I like that because it makes me a better manager, a better person. When you're not getting criticized in this game, that means nobody cares about you. I don't have many regrets. Satisfaction, a lot. Up and downs, yes, like everybody else did."
Some of those ups and downs were caused by the erosion of a once brother-like relationship between Guillen and Williams, which played a role in Guillen's departure. The White Sox picked up Guillen's 2012 option before the 2011 season began, but Guillen said at the beginning of September that he only wanted to come back with a multiyear extension.
Meetings between Guillen and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf took place this past weekend and again on Monday at Reinsdorf's office at the United Center. Guillen was told that the extension would not happen with him under contract for 2012, and Guillen agreed that this year's underachieving squad didn't necessarily warrant a Guillen extension.
So, the move was made for the two sides to part. There was no animosity expressed by Guillen toward Williams, and Guillen spoke in reverential tones concerning Reinsdorf.
"Jerry gave me an opportunity to play in the big leagues and gave me an opportunity to manage in the big leagues," Guillen said. "What else can I ask the guy? [He] gave me the opportunity to be free when he didn't have to? I respect that. To me, Jerry means more to me and my family now than he did in the past."
Reinsdorf praised Guillen for his contributions to the White Sox in a statement from the press release announcing the move.
"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," the statement read. "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."
Talk quickly turned to Williams' thoughts on potential replacements for Guillen and the plans for the team this offseason, but he deferred both of those topics to a later time.
On this night, the story was all about Guillen.
"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."