White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was released from his contract Monday night to pursue other opportunities.
Guillen met with owner Jerry Reinsdorf for about 30 minutes earlier in the day. Guillen said he told Reinsdorf he would like to return, but only for a contract extension for more money. He had one year remaining on his current deal.
"We certainly cannot thank Ozzie enough for all he has done during his eight seasons as manager of the Chicago White Sox, highlighted by an unforgettable 2005 World Series championship," Reinsdorf said in a release issued by the team following its 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I personally appreciate everything he has done for this organization, our fans and the city of Chicago. We shared the greatest moments together and wish him nothing but future success in baseball and in life."
The White Sox said in the release they retain the right to compensation should Guillen accept a managerial position with another major league team for the 2012 season. Guillen, who had a 678-617 record with the White Sox, will not be in uniform for the remaining two games this year.
The Florida Marlins talked to Chicago last year about acquiring the colorful Guillen, but the deal never materialized. They could bring him in now to lead the club into a new ballpark next season.
Guillen is the only manager in franchise history to lead the White Sox to more than one division or league title. Chicago also made the playoff under Guillen in 2008.
In the 2005 championship year, the White Sox nearly let a 15-game lead evaporate before rebounding in the final week of the regular season. Then they went 11-1 in the postseason, clinching all three of their series against the Red Sox, the Angels and the Astros on the road. It was their first title since 1917.
But after teaming with general manager Ken Williams to end the 88-tear drought, their relationship has become strained over the last two years.
Chicago had early losing streaks of seven and five games and by May 1, Guillen's club was 10 games out of first. It pulled within 3 1/2 games of the lead on Aug. 17 but that was as close as it would get the rest of the way.
Guillen was a managerial trend setter with a Twitter account and a website. And social media, like his opinions expressed in other forums, got him in trouble at times.
After he was ejected this season at Yankee Stadium by umpire Todd Tichenoran, the manager went on Twitter and called his ejection pathetic. That got him a two-game suspension and fine, and it was the first time baseball has penalized a player, coach or manager for using the social networking site during a game.
Social media played a role in the creating tension between Williams and Guillen in 2010. Guillen's son, Oney, left the team's scouting department after posting some comments on Twitter that were critical of the team's front office.
Guillen said he spoke Monday with Reinsdorf to get an idea about his future. He leaves on a vacation in Spain later this week.
He and Reinsdorf have been close since Guillen's playing days as a slick-fielding shortstop when he was the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year with the White Sox. He played 13 of his 16 big league seasons with the White Sox.
"Believe me, it's not easy for me and him to have that type of conversation," Guillen said before the victory over the Blue Jays. "It's very painful. But this is a business. I want to know what's my status. That's the only thing I can do in life, is baseball. I make my money out of baseball. It's hard for me to put this man in that situation. Very hard, because I know he doesn't deserve that."
Since he took over in 2004, there has been a long list of Ozzie blowups and tirades and opinionated rants.
In 2006, Guillen was fined and ordered by Commissioner Bud Selig to undergo sensitivity training after he described then Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti with a derogatory term.
In 2008 he went on a rant, saying Williams needed to make some changes. His comments also miffed batting coach Greg Walker before everything was patched up. He once lambasted former White Sox star and countryman Magglio Ordonez with a four-letter verbal surge after Ordonez joined the Tigers and said Guillen was now the enemy.
As he was riding to Wrigley Field for a game against the Cubs, Guillen called into a radio station and went on another profanity-filled tirade after a host questioned why he wasn't starting A.J. Pierzynski that day.
There were many more incidents, some of them raising eyebrows. Guillen once told reporters that "no comment" was not part of his vocabulary.