The worst-kept secret in Major League Baseball has now become official. Ozzie Guillen will no longer manage the White Sox and it appears that he'll sign a new deal with the Marlins, who would send compensation to Chicago if a deal with Guillen becomes official.
The White Sox announced tonight that they have released Guillen from his contract at his request. He won't be in uniform for the season's final two games, according to the team, which retains rights to compensation if another club hires Guillen to manage in 2012. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf says he appreciates Guillen's work and wishes him the best.
“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,” he said.
The next time Guillen dons a Major League uniform, it will likely be for the Marlins. His deal with Florida is expected to be for three years, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Guillen had one year remaining on his deal in Chicago, where he had managed since 2004.
The White Sox will obtain two minor leaguers as compensation, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. They were hoping for a "decent prospect" from the Marlins, but weren't expecting anyone on Florida's 40-man roster, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
Current manager Jack McKeon won't be back in Florida next year and the Marlins started a complete search for his replacement, even though they already appear to have decided on Guillen. The Marlins interviewed third base coach Joe Espada, hitting coach Eduardo Perez and Nationals coach Bo Porter today for the vacancy.
Guillen leaves the Windy City with a record of 678-617. The White Sox made two playoff appearances under Guillen: they won the World Series in 2005, Guillen's second season, and lost to the Rays in the 2008 ALDS.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, who first reported that Guillen was out as manager, says there will likely be substantive changes to Chicago’s coaching staff. Pitching coach Don Cooper already has a deal on the table to stay in the organization, according to Cowley. Bench coach Joey Cora is expected to join Guillen with the Marlins, according to Morosi (on Twitter). First, Cora will manage Chicago's last two regular season games, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin (on Twitter). Tony La Russa and Buddy Bell are expected to be considered for Chicago's managing gig, tweets Morosi.
The White Sox and Marlins discussed a Guillen for Mike Stanton trade last offseason (don't expect a substantive return for the White Sox if the deal goes through). Though they're rare, there is some precedent for player-manager swaps. Following the 2002 season, the Rays sent Randy Winn to Seattle for minor leaguer Antonio Perez to compensate the Mariners for losing Lou Piniella.