Miami-Dade mayor: “The freedom-loving people” of Miami want Ozzie Guillen fired

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L’affair Ozzie is continuing apace. We’ve had the comment, the outrage, the apology, the media hand-wringing, and now the political opportunism.

In the run-up to Ozzie Guillen’s second apology over his Castro comment, Carlos Giminez, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, calls for his termination. Because apparently there is nothing more satisfying to “freedom-loving people” than to fire a person for voicing a weak, unpopular political opinion:

“I join the rest of our Miami-Dade County community and all freedom-loving people in condemning the statement made by Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen,” Gimenez said in a 5 p.m. statement. “For too long, the Marlins organization has been the source of controversies in our community and I now challenge them to take decisive steps to bring this community back together.”

“Bring this community back together?”  Call me crazy, but I have this feeling that a community that is strong enough to have escaped Castro and build what it has built in Miami is not capable of being destroyed by an isolated incident of one loudmouth saying something ill-considered to a magazine reporter.

Anyway, Gimenez didn’t say what those “decisive steps” were, but it’s pretty clear that he wants Guillen fired. Which, as I said yesterday, seems preposterous to me. At least if you treat this as merely a matter of Ozzie Guillen spouting off.

But maybe it’s not just about Ozzie spouting off to Miami politicians. That comment about the Marlins being “the source of controversies”  is loaded with meaning, likely being a reference to the funding of the new ballpark, which is now the subject of a federal investigation. That messiness led directly to Mr. Giminez getting his job, when his predecessor was recalled due to his involvement in alleged shadiness. Moreover, the matter of who supported public money for the Marlins became an issue in the subsequent election to replace the old mayor, with Giminez being an anti-stadium dollars guy.

Which, hey, good for him because that’s admirable. But it also suggests that being tough on the Marlins is part of Gimenez’s recent political DNA too.  Which suggests that Guillen is being seized on, not only because he said something that people in Miami don’t like, but because it’s politically expedient for some folks to make the Marlins into the boogeyman.

So, the theater continues. The allegedly shocking comment, the outrage, the first apology, the media hand-wringing, the second apology and now the political opportunism. All that’s left are the lawsuits, right? That’s how this sort of thing tends to go, isn’t it?

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.