You can’t take Chicago out of Ozzie Guillen. The Miami Marlins new manager still owns a home in Chicago, and seemingly would prefer to return to his favorite place in the world during the cold of winter rather than enjoy his new sunshine drenched digs in South Beach. Despite being named the new manager of the Miami Marlins, Guillen has been enjoying his time in the Windy City doing a little Christmas shopping for the holidays with his family while the Marlins’ owner, Jeffrey Loria, and team president David Samson spend freely during the Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas. Guillen must be under the assumption that it is Christmas every day for him with the presents he’s gotten under his managing tree.
The additions of Heath Bell, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle will certainly make life much easier on one of the most outspoken managers in all of baseball. Guillen’s quite fortunate all things considered after what turned in to a bitter end in Chicago for the former World Series champion manager. Guillen wants to assure all Marlins fans — new and old – that Hanley Ramirez is here to stay regardless of all the rumors about his future in the wake of the Jose Reyes signing. Ozzie Guillen joined ESPN Radio Chicago with Waddle & Silvy to discuss the reaction of White Sox fans in Chicago about Marlins signing veteran starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, if he was surprised by Buehrle signing with Miami, if he had anything to do with convincing the veteran left-hander to join the Marlins, if he ever thought the Marlins were going to emerge victorious in the Albert Pujols sweepstakes, the Marlins ownership telling him when he signed on as manager that they would spend all this money in free agency, and how Hanley Ramirez will be staying with the Marlins despite the trade rumors.
You said you would walk your dog three times today just to hear what people are saying about Mark Buehrle in Chicago? Have you seen any fans today?
“Not yet. I think people in Chicago love [Mark] Buehrle and I wanted to know what people’s reaction is. Obviously a few people are upset, but they have to understand this is a business. This was Buehrle’s choice, not the White Sox’s choice, and I’m glad he signed with the Marlins. I love this kid and I love his family. We fight very well to get this guy, and this guy is a big part. I just want to see all the feedback right now. I had a couple of friends calling me and told me I was stealing Buehrle from the White Sox. That’s not it. That’s Buehrle’s decision.”
Were you surprised that Mark Buehrle was willing to come to Miami?
“Not really. I remember talking to his wife on the Tuesday or Monday when I left the [Chicago] White Sox and when I go to talk to management. I talked to his wife that night and I said ‘I will see you in Miami next year.’ She thought I was kidding. I told her too and everybody don’t feel bad I will see you again. I know it was kind his desire. I know what kind of family he have. I know how much he loved his kids and he’d like to be around his kids. I thought if there was one shot it would be Kansas City, the White Sox or St.Louis. That’s the three teams that he wanted to play for and after we talked we went through a lot of talking and all this stuff. I had to talk about playing for us and you know who I am? There is no what is this all about and we had a couple of coaches from the White Sox there. It was just a bit of talk. Obviously I tried to convince him, but if you don’t like the praise you are not going to convince anyone. I’m glad we have him.”
You guys made a strong push for Albert Pujols. At any time did you think he was going to be a Miami Marlin?
“Oh well the hope was there. The intention…it was there all the way to the end. The funny thing about it because if you just talk about that much money – I kind of have for me to step up and say ‘Well let’s do this,’ because Jack Mckeon told me a couple of days ago, hey when they ask you about who you want? Say everyone. I think I appreciate it and I am pretty pleased how the Marlins organization went after him. Obviously we got a pretty good first basemen right now. Anytime you could add Albert Pujols to the ball club you are going to make it better. I’m glad he got enough money and he’s out of the National League. I am very happy about it. It’s like we signed him and C.J. Wilson. Those two guys are going to the American League and making it easy for everyone in the National League.”
When you took this job did you know you were going to have this kind of access to money in free agency?
“Not really. They talked to me about how they were going to have a good ball club. To be honest with you the only time I was like that I said ‘Hey I want to manage Jose Reyes one day.’ That’s the first thing they did. I appreciate that, but in the meanwhile what can I say? I have never been involved with signings. I have never been involved with people about who is going to be playing and who is not in the past and now. I don’t like to do that because all of it is on maybe you were wrong one time and someone is going to blame you. They did a good job scouting people. They did a good job of sticking together and talking about what they were going to do. They did a great job about saving some money and making a big splash this winter.”
A lot of people think Hanley Ramirez will be traded because he doesn’t want to move to 3rd and wants to play shortstop. You have been pretty defiant saying he will stay here. Are you telling us Hanley Ramirez will not be traded?
“Nope. [Host: No chance?] You know what’s funny about it. I don’t want to say the media because it sounds arrogant and stupid, so I say oh the media. The people I talk to yesterday and I expect to talk to them today sound fine. I don’t blame the kid [Hanley Ramirez] thinking about it that way. One thing about it: It never came out as him saying I don’t want to play for them [Miami Marlins]. I don’t want to move to third base. That’s somebody tweeting or maybe the agent or maybe somebody out there. It never came out from him [Hanley Ramirez]. That’s why I say to the media. I say if Hanley have any problem doing that he got my number. He’s got the people’s number. He’s got the front office people’s numbers. We talk to him before. They talked to him 30 seconds after they signed Jose Reyes. I talked to him again today. Everything sounded fine. He’s at work now. One thing about it: This kid has the biggest pulse of my group. We build this ball club around him. This is a guy I don’t care if we signed another free agent. I don’t care what way we go Hanley Ramirez is a Marlin. We tried to make him the best ball club around him. He can have some fun.”