Marlins top baseball executive Larry Beinfest seems safe, but manager Ozzie Guillen appears to be in serious peril as the team's disastrous inaugural season in Marlins Park winds to a close, sources close to the situation suggest.
One person familiar with the Marlins' thinking said he'd be “shocked'' if Beinfest, the Marlins' president for baseball operations, was made to pay for the team's rough year. The same person suggested Guillen is the kind to “wear out his welcome,'' but couldn't guarantee for sure Guillen is a goner.
Predicting what the Marlins may do is a dangerous business, as always.
Only a week ago, USA Today, citing two unnamed sources, suggested Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria planned to fired Beinfest, who like GM Michael Hill, Guillen and other top members of the front-office staff has a contract that goes through 2015.
Guillen's contract status may not be enough for him to keep his job, as Marlins people are saying the amount remaining on his deal won't necessarily be a determining factor, either way. Marlins people plan to meet at season's end and are expected to decide Guillen's fate at that time.
Beinfest's almost certain return should not be seen as a positive sign for Guillen, as it was Loria who hand-picked Guillen for their big first year in the new park. People close to the situation say Guillen and Beinfest show no outward signs of being especially close.
The Miami Herald cited two sources suggesting the front office was probably safe following the initial report that Beinfest would go. Earlier, there was a belief circulating around baseball that Beinfest was in big trouble and likely to be replaced by top scout Dan Jennings -- though that appears not to be the case now.
Guillen undoubtedly was brought in partly because he's an interesting character who might sell tickets, but that idea was all but lost when Guillen alienated the area's large Cuban population when he said in a spring interview that he “loved'' and “respected'' Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, an absurd remark that served no good purpose, made folks wonder exactly how smart he is. He apologized but earned him a five-game suspension from the team.
But Guillen's recent remark to the Palm Beach Post about Loria, while not as outlandish as the Castro comments, might have been an even bigger gamble for him. Guillen told the paper, speaking of Loria, “Look yourself in the mirror and ask why so many (bleeping) managers came through here.''
While that remark about Loria might have been Guillen's attempt to present an argument for staying longer, it was rather an unflattering thing to say about someone who bestowed a four-year, $10-million deal on him after an unsuccessful finish to his White Sox tenure.
It may also have been revelatory of Guillen's understanding of where he stood.