UPDATE: Ozzie Guillen released from contract with White Sox, expected to join Marlins

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Oh boy.

According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Ozzie Guillen is managing his last game with the White Sox tonight. Oh, but that’s not all. He has been told by multiple sources that the White Sox are “in the final stages” of completing a deal to send him to the Marlins.

Of course, Guillen has been linked to the Marlins dating back to failed trade talks last offseason. The White Sox reportedly asked for Logan Morrison at the time, but the price would presumably be much less now that Guillen only has one year left on his contract. He has also given the White Sox little choice but to let him go, at least with his comments in the media.

Entering Monday’s action, Guillen has a 677-617 record (.523) over eight seasons as manager with the White Sox, including a World Series title in 2005.

Cowley writes that there will likely be sweeping changes to the White Sox coaching staff this offseason, but that renowned pitching coach Don Cooper already has a deal to on the table to stay with the organization.

UPDATE: Via Twitter, Ozzie Guillen Jr. has all but confirmed his father’s exit from the organization, writing,” thank you to all the great white sox fans who always showed support. Chicago the best city in the world will always be home.”

UPDATE II: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Marlins conducted managerial interviews today with Nationals third base coach Bo Porter and two in-house candidates (one believed to be current third base/outfield coach Joe Espada), but that they are on the verge of completing a deal for Guillen. The interviews were conducted in order to comply with MLB regulations. The White Sox are expected to receive at least one player in return.

UPDATE III: According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins are not expected to make an announcement tonight.

UPDATE IV: The White Sox announced following tonight’s game that they have agreed to let Guillen out of his contract. Interesting wording considering what we have heard throughout the night, but the White Sox will receive compensation if he takes another manager job for 2012, which is apparently the case with the Marlins.

Magic Johnson says the Dodgers will win the World Series

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Baseball, as we so often note around here, is unpredictable. Especially when it comes to the playoffs. You can be the best team in the land for six months but a few bad days can end your season once October hits.

In 2001 the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in the regular season but lost the ALCS to the Yankees, four games to one. In 1906 the Cubs won 116 games in a 152-game season and lost the World Series. In 1954 the Indians won 111 games in a 154-game season and lost the World Series. In 1931 the Philadelphia A’s won 107 games and lost the World Series.

More recently, with the advent of expanded playoffs, the chances for the team with the best record to win the World Series have been pretty dang terrible. Since the beginning of the wild card era, only five times has the team with the game’s best record gone on to win the World Series: The 1998 and 2009 Yankees, the 2007 and 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Cubs. That’s it.

At the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers have baseball’s best record. They’re 71-31 and sit 12 games up in their division. Their playoff chances are almost 100%. The above examples notwithstanding, if you had to make a prediction as to who might win the World Series, it would not be unreasonable to pick the Dodgers. Sure, you’d want to make sure they got Clayton Kershaw back by early September or thereabouts to make it a safer prediction, but it’d be a totally defensible pick. Maybe even the one most people make.

But it’d be the utmost in magical thinking to presume that one could make such a prediction with any degree of certainty, right? The Los Angeles Times, however, passes along some Magical thinking:

Magic Johnson called his shot Thursday night, and he wasn’t shy about it. The Dodgers’ co-owner did not hesitate when he predicted how the team would finish this year.

“The Dodgers are going to win the World Series this year,” Johnson said. “This is our year.”

The headline calls it a “guarantee.” I don’t know if I’d call it that — I think it’s more of a confident prediction — but it is a bold statement whatever you call it.

If I had to pick one team at the moment — and we could assume a healthy Clayton Kershaw — I suppose I would make them my World Series favorites too. And, yes, if I had an ownership interest in the Dodgers, I’d probably say what Johnson said.

But given the example of history, I think “field” would be a much safer bet.

Mariners trade Steve Cishek to the Rays for swingman Erasmo Ramirez.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erasmo Ramirez.

Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. He’s 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, with a 15/7 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He’s a setup man right now, but he has experience as a closer, saving 25 games for Seattle last year and as many as 39 back when he pitched for the Marlins in 2014.

Ramirez has appeared in 26 games for the Rays and has started eight games. He’s 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA and a 55/16 K/BB ratio in 69.1 innings. This will be his second stint with the Mariners, having played for them from 2012-14.

Sort of a surprising deal given that both Tampa Bay and Seattle are competing for a wild card spot, but needs are needs.