The Miami Marlins are rumored to be looking for Ozzie Guillen’s replacement despite the fact he still currently holds the job. Names that have floated around included Brad Ausmus, Mike Lowell, and Bo Porter before the latter signed with the Houston Astros. One name that hasn’t been mentioned is Jack McKeon and that is unfortunate as he may be the best man for the job.
McKeon will be 82 in 2013 but age is just a number and the World Champion proved that in 2011. In his partial season with the Marlins, Trader Jack got the most out of his players day in and day out. Yes, they still had a losing record and finished in last place but that wasn’t McKeon’s fault. Handed a roster that was full of injuries and lacked depth, McKeon could not work a miracle. Nobody could have stopped that team from finishing in last place. One tremendous bright spot that will have a lasting effect for seasons to come was the emergence of Emilio Bonifacio under McKeon’s watchful eye. McKeon turned Bonifacio into a top of the order force that had a reverberating effect on the lineup behind him. Imagine if McKeon could do the same with Gorkys Hernandez, or whatever he may wind up calling him.
Guillen was handed a terrific roster and it is not his fault that the team didn’t succeed. He didn’t take the mound and he didn’t step to the plate but he also did not have the effect on the team that many figured he’d have when he signed on. Maybe the Fidel Castro incident changed his demeanor, it certainly seemed that Guillen was more low key after the incident. Whatever the reason was, Guillen appeared to be a different skipper than he had been in years past with the White Sox. That didn’t kill this Marlins’ team but it also didn’t help them. It’s possible that in 2013, everything would look different and maybe Guillen will get that chance after all. Right now though, it looks more likely that he is looking for employment elsewhere before next season.
If the Marlins fire Guillen, they need someone who can lead this team back to the promised land of October baseball. They need someone who has experience working with a roster of young talent. Why not give McKeon a chance with a full season of Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and company? Why not see if he has one more magical run left him in? Why not bring Jack back again?