Source: Marlins to hire Ozzie Guillen

Updated: September 27, 2011, 2:48 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen walked away from the Chicago White Sox on Monday after being unable to secure a contract extension, and he apparently is walking into a new job managing the Florida Marlins.

Guillen's quest for a new deal from the White Sox was denied, so the talkative, sometimes outrageous and always colorful manager asked to be released from his current contract.

That request was granted.

Guillen's website later had a post describing how thrilled he was to join the Marlins and how he couldn't wait to get started. The post was later taken down. Jack McKeon announced earlier Monday that he would retire as Florida manager after the season.

Guillen's website post might have been premature but according to a source, it was correct. Guillen will accept a managerial job with the Marlins for four years, a source close to the situation told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine.

On Tuesday afternoon Guillen tweeted: "Weird to be in miami in this time but very happy ready to go".

After Guillen met with owner Jerry Reinsdorf, the team agreed to release him from his current deal and his eight-year managerial run that included a World Series title in 2005 was over. He managed his final game Monday night as the White Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-3.

Guillen said he had a great talk with Reinsdorf, who respected his decision.

"It was my call and I appreciated the White Sox organization letting me do what I like to do and what is best. ... Maybe not the best, maybe it's the worst," Guillen said. "You don't know what is out there. Maybe I'm dreaming. I might not appreciate what I got here. You don't know. You have to close the page and move on. That's life. Hopefully the next book treats me the way this book treated me."

Pitching coach Don Cooper will manage the White Sox for the final two games. Joey Cora no longer is with the White Sox, according to a team official.

Should Guillen, who had a 678-617 record with the White Sox and will not be in uniform for the remaining two games this year, take a managerial job with a different organization in 2012, the White Sox said in a release they retain the right to be compensated. In order to fulfill that right, the Marlins will send two minor leaguers, including right-handed reliever Jhan Marinez, to Chicago, the source said. MLB.com reported earlier that infielder Osvaldo Martinez is the other player.

Guillen, whose contract option for 2012 was picked up at the team's winter convention in January, began talking late last month about an extension, even with the team going through a disappointing season.

"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," Reinsdorf said in a release issued by the team.

"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."

General manager Kenny Williams said because of "warnings," the White Sox had narrowed down possible replacements.

The Marlins talked to Chicago last year about acquiring Guillen, but the deal never materialized. They could bring him in now to lead the club into a new ballpark next season.

"It could be anybody. They sound like they are interested," Guillen said. "They just let me go to talk to whoever I want, anyone I want. Right now, a lot of people are talking about Florida ... a lot of rumors are out there."

The Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier Monday that Guillen was close to a managerial deal with the Marlins.

"I like Ozzie," McKeon said Monday night. "I think he's a very, very intelligent manager. He was a smart player. He's a good man. I like him."

With a smile, McKeon added, "I'm going to have to like him, right?"

Guillen worked for owner Jeffrey Loria as the Marlins' third base coach in 2002-03. After they won the World Series, Guillen became the White Sox manager that November.

Guillen is the only manager in franchise history to lead the White Sox to more than one division or league title. Chicago also made the playoffs under Guillen in 2008. But they floundered this season.

"No regrets, no regrets," Guillen said. "Very disappointed in this year, yes."

White Sox veteran Paul Konerko said Guillen's departure "probably needed to be done on both sides of it."

"For Ozzie, I think he's been kind of just burned out on this whole thing and probably likewise on the other side and that's how it goes," Konerko said. "It doesn't always have to be that someone's right, someone's wrong, this person hates that person. Sometimes in sports -- any business but especially sports -- a coaching staff or a manager or a head coach whoever it might be, that kind of regime runs its course and that's what we have here."

Guillen's son, Ozzie Guillen Jr., sent a tweet from his account Monday night: "(...) thank you to all the great white sox fans who always showed support. Chicago the best city in the world will always be home."

In the 2005 championship year, the White Sox nearly let a 15-game lead evaporate before rebounding in the final week of the regular season. Then they went 11-1 in the postseason, clinching all three of their series against the Red Sox, the Angels and the Astros on the road. It was their first title since 1917.

But after teaming with Williams to end the 88-tear drought, their relationship has become strained over the last two years.

"Never did I imagine, particularly when the season started, never did I imagine I would be sitting in this room talking to you guys about failure to accomplish the goal No. 1, but certainly, that Ozzie would no longer be here," Williams said.

"That would have been the furthest thought from my mind. It's disappointing. It's upon reflection, I think I'm going to choose instead of remembering some of the things that have kind of gotten off track here recently, I think I'm going to remember a lot more of the good times than anything."

Acknowledging the two didn't have a great relationship the last two years, Guillen said: "I don't have anything against Kenny. That has nothing do with it."

The White Sox (78-82) were built to win this year but middle-of-the-order players like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios slumped all season and bogged down the offense.

Chicago had early losing streaks of seven and five games and by May 1, Guillen's club was 10 games out of first. It pulled within 3½ games of the lead on Aug. 17 but that was as close as it would get the rest of the way.

Guillen was a managerial trend setter with a Twitter account and a website. And social media, like his opinions expressed in other forums, got him in trouble at times.

After he was ejected this season at Yankee Stadium by umpire Todd Tichenoran, the manager went on Twitter and called his ejection pathetic. That got him a two-game suspension and fine, and it was the first time baseball has penalized a player, coach or manager for using the social networking site during a game.

Social media played a role in creating tension between Williams and Guillen in 2010. Guillen's son, Oney, left the team's scouting department after posting some comments on Twitter that were critical of the team's front office.

Guillen said he spoke Monday with Reinsdorf to get an idea about his future. He leaves on a vacation in Spain later this week.

He and Reinsdorf have been close since Guillen's playing days as a slick-fielding shortstop when he was the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year with the White Sox. He played 13 of his 16 big league seasons with the White Sox.

"Was it time for a change? I don't think so," Williams said. "I guess things were accelerated. We had no intention of firing him. This was kind of acquiescing to some of his desires more than anything. It is what it is. I don't wish to expound on any of the peripherals to the degree that they become more of a story than they really are.

"This is a case of a man making a business decision for himself and his family. And we respected it, we respected it enough to allow this to happen. Obviously we didn't agree to the request for an extension."

Since he took over in 2004, there has been a long list of Ozzie blowups and tirades and opinionated rants.

In 2006, Guillen was fined and ordered by commissioner Bud Selig to undergo sensitivity training after he described then Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti with a derogatory term.

In 2008 he went on a rant, saying Williams needed to make some changes. His comments also miffed batting coach Greg Walker before everything was patched up. He once lambasted former White Sox star and countryman Magglio Ordonez with a four-letter verbal surge after Ordonez joined the Tigers and said Guillen was now the enemy.

As he was riding to Wrigley Field for a game against the Cubs, Guillen called into a radio station and went on another profanity-filled tirade after a host questioned why he wasn't starting A.J. Pierzynski that day.

There were many more incidents, some of them raising eyebrows. Guillen once told reporters that "no comment" was not part of his vocabulary.

"Just his enthusiasm, the way he treated people, especially my kids," Pierzynski said about what he'll miss most about Guillen. "Every day he was happy to see them, put a smile on their face and you have to respect someone like that. He never let the job get to him, it didn't change him and he had a good run."

ESPNChicago.com's Doug Padilla and Bruce Levine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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