Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins descent into madness is almost complete in 2012. The team’s owner spent the weekend sniping at a former manager and Monday, closer Heath Bell took aim at the team’s current manager, Ozzie Guillen.
“It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face to face,” Bell told WQAM’s Dan Sileo. “We need a guy that leads us and everybody respects and looks up to.”
Bell and Guillen have clashed before this season. The high-priced reliever was demoted earlier in the season after blowing several saves and not looking anything like the pitcher he was the past few seasons in San Diego.
Team owner Jeffrey Loria was outraged over the weekend by comments by former manager Fredi Gonzalez, now-manager of the Atlanta Braves. According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, Gonzalez said, “There’s not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone.”
Loria responded telling the Herald, “I’m a little surprised because it’s classless and you can quote me especially because he was with us for five years and he was a colossal failure. Not nice. Not Nice.”
While Loria may be upset about Gonzalez’s comments, the Braves manager has enjoyed plenty of success since leaving Miami. Gonzalez likely has the Braves in the playoffs again this season, while the Marlins are again nowhere near the playoffs.
Loria’s disagreement with his former manager may foreshadow what will happen to Guillen. Bell’s comments notwithstanding, Guillen is believed to be on thin ice with the organization and could be the latest manager casualty for the Marlins.
If the Marlins decide to fire Guillen, it will cost the team millions. One player told the Herald, “The whole place has become a zoo.”
Additionally, Loria is set to have the Marlins cut payroll by as much as $25 million in the coming season. According to the Herald, team sources said the squad lost money this year due to a high payroll and lower-than-anticipated attendance at the new Marlins Park.
So, Marlins fans hoping the team will be big players in free agency again this season will likely be let-down. The team is focusing on 2013, but will have a big decision to make on starting pitcher Josh Johnson and whether to sign him to a contract extension.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)