Wizards

Ozzie Guillen's Marlins are an absolute mess

728578.jpg

Ozzie Guillen's Marlins are an absolute mess

From Comcast SportsNetMIAMI (AP) -- Miami reliever Heath Bell was critical of manager Ozzie Guillen in a radio interview Monday, the latest in a series of turbulent comments for the disappointing Marlins to deal with as their season winds down."It's been an interesting year with Ozzie," Bell told Miami station WQAM. "That's pretty much all I'll say about that. It's just been really interesting to have him manage."However, pressed with more questions, Bell kept talking, eventually saying the Marlins need a manager "that everybody respects and looks up to."Bell's struggles were one of the biggest issues for the Marlins this season. He signed a 27 million, three-year contract over the winter, then eventually lost the closer role after a disastrous start to the season, which included an 8.47 ERA after his first 21 appearances with Miami.For the year, Bell has 19 saves in 26 opportunities, with a 5.40 ERA in those games. He has appeared 43 times in non-save situations, going 3-0 with a 5.06 ERA.Bell's seven blown saves were the second-highest total in the majors this season entering Monday. Two players had blown eight opportunities."You know, I stunk in April, plain and simple," Bell said in the interview. "I said I stunk, I worked hard, I busted my butt. I think the second half, 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."Miami was off on Monday. At 66-87, the Marlins are in last in the NL East and have the sixth-worst record in the majors -- a far cry from what the team expected when it went on a spending spree last winter.The Marlins signed Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Bell to contracts worth a combined 191 million. But Bell was a bust as the closer, and the Marlins were plagued by poor hitting, especially in the clutch.Bell said he wants to be back with the Marlins "without a doubt" next season. Bell's ERA since the All-Star break is 3.12. Prior to the break, it was 6.75.His statements came one day after Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria called his former manager, current Atlanta skipper Fredi Gonzalez, "a colossal failure" with the team. Loria was responding to statements Gonzalez made to The Miami Herald, which quoted Gonzalez saying "there's not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough."The Marlins will finish with a losing record for the fifth time in the past seven seasons. Their only two winning seasons in that span came under Gonzalez.Guillen is completing the first year in a four-year contract with the club. He said last week that he is not worried about where he'll work next season."That's the last thing going through my mind every day, if I'm going to have a job next year," Guillen said Friday in New York, before a series where the Marlins were swept by the Mets. "I'm going to have a job. I don't know if it's managing the Marlins, but I will have a job. I don't know if it's managing in the big leagues, but I will have a job."The Marlins are wrapping up their first season in a 634 million retractable-roof ballpark in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. The season started coming apart when Guillen was suspended for five games in April following comments praising Cuban leader Fidel Castro, infuriating the Miami-area Cuban community."Things can only get better," Bell said. "They don't always stay bad."

Quick Links

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

usatsi_10761235.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

MORE CAPITALS' NEWS: