Ozzie Guillen can be a likeable character, a fast-talking personality with a penchant for saying something funny, insightful or controversial. Since he has been in Miami, the team has not won and Guillen’s act is not going over well anymore.
Jeffrey Loria, the owner, according to reports, is considering what to do with Guillen after unflattering remarks about him. Now comes a player blasting Guillen without fear of reprisals.
Relief pitcher Heath Bell, who was removed from the closer role after struggling earlier this season, made comments on a San Diego radio show that is big news in Miami.
“It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face-to-face,” Bell said of Guillen. “There’s probably reasons why.”
Bell, 34, has a 5.19 ERA and has converted just 19 of 26 save opportunities this season, his first since signing a three-year, $27 million contract with the Marlins.
Bell has posted a 3.12 ERA since the demotion from the closer role but said that Guillen has not given him the opportunity to reclaim the job.
“I stunk in April, plain and simple,” Bell said. “I said I stunk, I worked hard, I busted my butt. I think I’ve had a tremendous second half. I’m not closing — I know that. But I just kept my mouth shut because I want to regain what I had, and I feel like I can’t do that.”
Bell initially declined to comment directly about Guillen during Monday’s interview, saying only, “it’s been an interesting year with Ozzie.”
But although he did not state Guillen’s name, Bell eventually offered harsh criticism, presumably directed at the mercurial manager.
“It’s just one of those things that — what you see is what you get,” Bell said. “I’m not going to be two-faced. I’m not going to sneak around your back and say this and that.”
Bell’s comments came one day after Guillen told Fox Sports Florida that he defends his decision to replace Bell with Steve Cishek. But Guillen also told the website that Bell would be given the opportunity to close again in 2013.