It took less than 12 hours after the end of the Marlins' season for the first report of manager Ozzie Guillen 's imminent demise to surface.
ESPN 's Buster Olney tweeted early Thursday that the Marlins were "aggressively pursuing" a replacement for Guillen. If that was indeed the case late Wednesday, owner Jeffrey Loria was doing the pursuing on his own, unbeknownst to his front office.
A source who spoke with a Marlins' front office member said the exasperation level among the club's baseball people is off the chart. Loria is keeping everyone hanging.
"As far as they know, no decision has been made either way," the source said. "Jeffrey is making this call, and for some reason he can't decide."
Guillen has said repeatedly over the last couple of weeks he's not losing sleep over it. He expects to be back and wants to be back, but how could he fault Loria for firing him after a 69-93 season?
Thursday, Guillen was scheduled to depart for a month-long trip to Spain. He had not updated his blog since right after the All-Star break. He did so before departing, writing:
"I am really looking forward to this vacation and getting away from everything for a little while. No matter what I do or where I go, baseball is in me 24/ 7, and that's just the way it's going to be. It's very disappointing to see the way we ended this season and I don't have to remind anyone that we had much higher hopes. But, what's in the past is in the past. No regrets. Hopefully we can have a great offseason, get back on track and come back ready to kick some butt."
Firing Guillen wouldn't require much more than a phone call, so waiting for him to return probably isn't holding up Loria's decision.
What is? Only Loria can answer that and he wasn't talking Tuesday, the last game he attended before going to New York. Team President David Samson and President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest have nothing to say either until Loria makes the call.
Dismissing Guillen might not go down well among Marlins players. Most showed they were in his corner when the Heath Bell flap went down during the last road series in Atlanta. Mark Buehrle has played for Guillen since he got the White Sox job in 2004.
Asked how he would feel about playing for someone else in 2013, Buehrle said: "I've been with him, not just manager/player, but we've got a friendship there. He loves my kids and it's not just baseball. It's stuff off the field. I would be kind of sad, surprised, a little bit of everything."
Stanton slugging champ
The Marlins late Thursday announced that Elias, by virtue of rule 10.22(a), determined Giancarlo Stanton the National League slugging champion (.608). No Marlin had ever paced the circuit in that category.
Stanton's .608 mark is the second-highest in franchise history, trailing only Gary Sheffield (.624, 1996). That year, Rockies outfielder Ellis Burks led the NL with a .640 mark.
The Marlins ended the season with seven players signed to multi-year contracts. Their salaries for 2013 total $62.75 million, as follows: Greg Dobbs ($1.5 million), John Buck ($6 million), Heath Bell ($9 million), Jose Reyes ($10 million), Mark Buehrle ($11 million), Ricky Nolasco ($11.5 million) and Josh Johnson ($13.75 million).
The following players are eligible for salary arbitration: Emilio Bonifacio , Chris Coghlan , Nick Green, Donnie Murphy and Ryan Webb .
Several key players are pre-arbitration eligible under team control, including: Stanton, Logan Morrison , Bryan Petersen , Justin Ruggiano, Donovan Solano, Steve Cishek , Mike Dunn , Nate Eovaldi , Dan Jennings , Wade LeBlanc and Jacob Turner .
Marlins' players eligible for free agency: Austin Kearns , Carlos Lee , Chad Gaudin, Juan Carlos Oviedo and Carlos Zambrano .