MIAMI -- Spending on high-priced free agents last offseason generated plenty of excitement, but it didn't translate into additional wins for the Miami Marlins.
So after enduring a second straight last-place finish in the National League East, the organization is left with many unanswered questions. One of them being, what is Ozzie Guillen's future as manager?
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria continues to mull over what to do next, regarding Guillen, the coaching staff, players and the rest of the organization.
Originally, the team's annual organizational meeting was scheduled for Oct. 4, the day after the season ended. Now, it has been rescheduled for some time later in the month. Guillen is currently in Spain on vacation, and upper management is taking some time to think things through.
Not only Guillen's status is unclear, as Loria is considering a possible restructuring of the front office as well. An announcement from Loria regarding the potential changes may not come until later this month.
A lesson learned in 2012 is paying top dollar to players alone doesn't guarantee success.
"I think the [teams] that spent a lot of money, they failed," Guillen said on the final day of the regular season. "I think that's going to be a good example for baseball, about how to go about their business."
The Marlins opened the season with a franchise-record $95 million payroll. The bottom line was the club finished 69-93. But Miami wasn't alone. The Red Sox had the same record as the Marlins.
Although the Dodgers and Angels both challenged until the end of the season, they, too, fell short of their postseason expectations.
"The teams that spent the most money this year, they're not in the playoffs," Guillen said, referring to mainly to the big spenders from last offseason and during this year.
Two teams that earned Guillen's respect are the A's and Orioles. Neither club was expected to contend, let alone go to the playoffs. Guillen also singled out the Rays for being so competitive with limited financial resources.
"They win with good players, hungry players, and the guys who play the game right," the Marlins manager said. "I think there are two teams who were my inspiration this year. I think the Oakland A's, and Baltimore."
In their first season at Marlins Park, the club was bracing for a magical year. The retractable-roof building lived up to the hype, but the product on the field didn't.
Before the season, there was a tremendous buildup for the team with the additions of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle.
Guillen was considered the ideal choice to energize and launch the high-profile roster.
"It was disappointing for everyone," Guillen said. "I'm disappointed in myself. I thought we were going to have a better season. Any time I do anything in life, I want to be the best.
"Everything in life: best father, best husband, best son, but you're not always going to be. Was I the best this year? Obviously, no, but I think this year I put more emphasis and more work to figure out this thing."
In terms of decisions made in the dugout, Guillen felt he had one of his strongest seasons. That's because he had to mix and match through injuries and underperformances from key players.
In the first half, Hanley Ramirez, billed as the face of the franchise, started out hitting third. But he didn't produce, and was moved around in the order. Jose Reyes went from the leadoff spot to the No. 3 slot. And then, Emilio Bonifacio, the new leadoff batter, got hurt.
Giancarlo Stanton missed substantial time with injuries, as did Logan Morrison, causing Guillen to regularly wonder who would bat in the heart of the order.
The closer role was changed in the second half, as Bell was moved to setup and replaced by Steve Cishek.
Those are just some of the situations Guillen repeatedly dealt with.
"It's easy to manage when you're winning games and you make every move and that move works," Guillen said. "No matter what move you make, you are satisfied.
"What we did this year, we didn't see much of that. Who's going to take the blame for the move? Myself. That's the bottom line."