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Ozzie's status with Marlins remains up in the air

MIAMI -- Ozzie Guillen may be on vacation, but there is no break from the speculation surrounding the manager's job.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Marlins owner and CEO Jeffrey Loria is being pressured by top team executives to dismiss Guillen. And ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Marlins are "aggressively" seeking another manager.

However, there are indications that the Marlins' managerial decision could take some time.

Shortly after Wednesday's game, which put the Marlins' record at 69-93, Guillen met briefly with team president David Samson and other members of the front office. Guillen was basically told the club would let emotions simmer down and then decide what to do next.

"When you make decisions when you are disappointed and very upset with stuff, you might make mistakes," Guillen said. "I think they are doing the right thing right now to think about it and see what happens in the future."

On Thursday, Guillen and his wife traveled to Spain for a vacation.

"I think they have to think about it," Guillen said on Wednesday. "With time, we will see what we need -- what we need done with the coaching staff, myself, whatever it is. And [they can] think with their mind, not with their heart. Right now, it's too hard to make decisions because everybody right now is bitter, very upset and very disappointed about the season."

Despite the buzz lingering over the manager, the bottom line is the decision will be made solely by Loria, and he isn't consulting many on the subject.

Also, there are a lot of mixed signals and messages right now.

Two veteran players told they've received indications that Guillen will return.

A number of veteran players also feel Guillen wasn't a problem, although clearly there are some in the clubhouse who are not in the manager's camp.

Since Guillen is under contract through 2015, there isn't any rush to make a change. Plus, there is the matter of the $7.5 million owed to him over the next three years.

The organization is expected to lower its payroll in 2013 to around $80 million. It was a franchise-high $95 million this season, but attendance figures fell below projections in the first year at Marlins Park.

If the Marlins do change managers, it could take a week or more just to settle Guillen's contract.

Another option would be to try to entice Guillen with a buyout if the club believes Guillen isn't the right choice for 2013.

Otherwise, the Marlins would be on the hook for all of the $7.5 million without even trying to see if Guillen would be willing to step aside for a lesser payoff. For instance, if Guillen believes he is no longer a fit, or that the Marlins only want to keep him because of the contract, Guillen might agree to exit for less money.

Along with Guillen, there is the matter of the coaches. None of them are under contract for next year, so they could all be let go, including Guillen's very close friend, bench coach Joey Cora.

There is a school of thought that if Cora isn't back, Guillen would walk away out of loyalty. A team source, however, said Guillen would stay no matter who is the bench coach.

In recent weeks, the Marlins certainly have had some internal discussions about possible replacements. Former Marlins Mike Lowell and Mike Redmond were talked about as possible replacements. And so was Bo Porter, a former Marlins third-base coach, who was with Washington this year. Porter, however, is off the market, because the Astros already announced he will take over as their manager after the Nationals finish up in the playoffs. Brad Ausmus, a longtime big league catcher, also has been mentioned as a possible choice to manage the Marlins.

The Palm Beach Post reported some players questioning Guillen's professionalism. An source agreed that the relationship between the manager and players was not always professional, but "there was a level of respect."

Guillen, who won the American League Manager of the Year Award and World Series with the White Sox in 2005, was hired to lead a group of veteran players to the postseason. Now that the roster is being restructured, and the team has a number of young players, is he the right candidate to help teach?

"I'd love to come back," Guillen said before his vacation. "I think it's another opportunity. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. We have to see what happens. Right now, I'm still a Marlin. I'd love to be a Marlin. But like I say, [with] the kind of year we [had], you never know."

Miami Marlins