MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The Florida Marlins introduced World Series winning manager Ozzie Guillen as the team’s new skipper for the 2012 season Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re very excited,” Guillen told the gathered media. “It’s a big, big step in my career, a new chapter. Hopefully, I can bring energy, flavor, and enthusiasm, but the most important thing is a winning team.”
Guillen said during his introductory news conference that he feels like he’s back home.
Marlins president David Samson said the deal didn’t come through until the team finally got to talk to Guillen on Monday.
Samson had a little fun discussing the process that happened to bring Guillen to the Marlins. Samson said that when the Fish first contacted Ozzie, he was actually able to sign with any team in the majors, the independent league, or even the California Penal League.
The last “league” was a reference to the baseball comedy movie, “Major League.”
Guillen was asked about the mercurial Hanley Ramirez, and said that the former All-Star shortstop was a key part of the Marlins future.
Ozzie guaranteed that Hanley Ramirez would be back to his old form, but said he would make sure that when players look up to him; they look up to the right player.
Ozzie will lead the Marlins into their brand new stadium in Little Havana next year. He’s already had a chance to see the park and came back impressed.
“I’m very excited about the new park,” Guillen said. “It’s pretty nice, wow. I hope the fans will be excited about the new era for the Marlins. They should be excited. I want the fans to go there and say, ‘This is a beautiful ballpark, but let’s watch the guys play.'”
Guillen had already confirmed the move himself late Monday on his website, before the post was pulled down. He also took to his Twitter account yesterday and said he was in Miami and “ready to go.”
There was still a year left on his White Sox contract, and general manager Ken Williams confirmed Tuesday that the club had an agreement with another team for compensation for the manager.
According to the Florida Marlins website, the Fish traded two of its top six minor-league prospects for the rights to Guillen.
The White Sox received 23-year-old right handed pitcher Jhan Martinez and shortstop Osvaldo Martinez as compensation for Guillen.
Ozzie’s new contract is worth $10 million for the next four years. That translated to a 25 percent pay raise from his previous job in Chicago.
Marlins players are reacting positively to the announcement of Guillen as the Fish’s new skipper.
“All the pieces are coming together,” said Marlins slugger Mike Stanton. “We got the stadium, and we got the manager.”
Guillen was named the AL Manager of the Year when he led the Chicago White Sox to a 99-63 record and won the World Series. Guillen will be 48-years-old when he takes over the Marlins next season.
He is no stranger to the Marlins franchise. He was the third-base coach the last time the Marlins were relevant during their 2003 World Series run. If Guillen has indeed been acquired, he’ll be the fourth Marlins manager since 2010.
Guillen led the White Sox to the World Series several years ago, but has compiled only a 678-617 record as a manager. Since 2007, three of his teams have finished the season under .500.
Regardless, Guillen will bring the Marlins back to the top of the media’s mind and make listening to him discuss the team interesting again.
The only challenge left for Guillen will be to back-up his confident talk with victories on the field.