Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is quoted in a recent issue of Time magazine as saying that he has “love” for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and respects that he’s been able to maintain power for so long.
Those thoughts obviously aren’t sitting well in Miami — a city with many Cuban descendants — and so a cleanup campaign has been put in motion.
Guillen held a closed-door meeting with beat writers on Saturday night, according to the Associated Press, and offered this: “I will apologize if I hurt somebody’s feelings, or I hurt somebody’s thought. I want them to know I’m against everything 100 percent – I repeat it again – the way this man (been) treating people for the last 60 years.”
The Marlins, meanwhile, have issued a statement: “There is nothing to respect about Fidel Castro. He is a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship, and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today.”
However Ozzie’s original comments to Time magazine came about, he clearly doesn’t stand behind them. And this certainly isn’t the first time Guillen has had a scatter-brained opinion about something.
But you have to wonder how this all is affecting the way Guillen is being viewed in south Florida. The team that employs him, after all, just opened a new ballpark in a neighborhood called “Little Havana.”
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.