8:18 PM CDT, May 10, 2013
Talk about a tough choice.
If you were Ozzie Guillen on Friday, where would you have been? Would you have been on West Monroe Street, hanging around the Guggenheim Partners office hoping to get some face time with Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter? Or a little farther north, looking to "bump into'' Jerry Dipoto or, even better, Arte Moreno outside the Angels' hotel?
Guillen is back in Chicago these days, based out of his Bucktown home after a tumultuous year with the Marlins. He wants to manage again, and surprisingly, two decent opportunities are on the verge of presenting themselves only six weeks into the season.
The Angels and Dodgers might make changes before Memorial Day, possibly even by next week if their teams don't get turned around. Either organization could give Guillen an unbelievably good chance to restore his good name after the misguided power play he made on Jerry Reinsdorf, and Guillen might be as strong a candidate — at least in the short term — as they could find.
Guillen is an excellent manager. His teams consistently win more games than their talent level suggests they should (plus-19 in Pythagorean standings over his eight years with the White Sox). It's easy to picture him getting a bump out of the Dodgers or Angels, should changes be made.
But will he get a chance?
Restoring his reputation will be a huge battle for Guillen. He might not be ready to get back in the dugout if the information I got Friday was correct.
Guillen says he wants to manage again but appears quite comfortable sitting home and being paid $2.5 million a year by the Marlins' Jeffrey Loria, who fired him one year into his four-year deal. I tried unsuccessfully to reach Ozzie but was told by someone close to him that he wants to manage again only if there's more in it for him than what he's already making.
It wasn't put this way, but what's being said is this: Guillen wants a raise after losing 93 games with the Marlins.
Guillen is only 49. He could have another 20 years left in baseball. But first he has to get another job, and that won't be easy, especially if he isn't putting his ego aside for the chance to wear No. 13 in another uniform.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a tough customer, hardly seems rattled by his tenuous job status. He was his usual self when he arrived at U.S. Cellular Field with a team that had lost its last five series, almost getting swept in Houston on its way here.
An already weak pitching staff lost scheduled starter Tommy Hanson for Friday's game as he deals with a personal matter. Scioscia was left to hope for the best with emergency starter Barry Enright, as well as with Albert Pujols' plantar fasciitis and Josh Hamilton's difficult transition from the comfort zone he had with the Rangers.
Scioscia, signed through 2018 under the terms of a truly baffling contract — why would anyone give any manager a 10-year deal? — hasn't received a vote of confidence from Moreno. He said Friday he doesn't need one.
"Not for what I do,'' he said. "Not for my benefit. The guys in the clubhouse are playing hard, preparing hard. They understand the need for us to get better in some areas.''
Guillen should be a consideration if the Angels and Dodgers make changes, as "the chatter,'' to use Scioscia's words, suggests they might. He wasn't the problem with the Marlins. The team Loria and Larry Beinfest put together didn't score runs and was torn apart by ownership in July, just when it might have started coming together.
Guillen took the hit, but the chaos has continued with him back in Chicago. The Marlins are juggling players with such frequency that even Beinfest, the president of baseball operations, is confused.
"I don't even know who is here anymore," Beinfest said Wednesday after the Marlins were swept in San Diego to fall to 10-25. "It's been a bad run.''
Guillen had a bad run too. The hope is he learned from it and can put himself into a better situation at some point soon.
But if he really does want more than just a jersey, an office and the $2.5 million a year the Marlins owe him, if he's not willing to realize he wrecked his career once by making a move based on money, he probably hasn't been out of baseball long enough.
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