MIAMI -- When the Marlins inked Heath Bell to a three-year deal in the offseason, they thought they were getting a top-tier closer to bolster their bullpen.
Things don't always work out as planned.
Bell struggled throughout the season, converting just 19-of 27 save opportunities, losing his role as closer along the way. Bell's struggles left the Marlins wondering what happened to the closer who was an All-Star from 2009-11 while in San Diego.
"I wish I knew," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said when asked what went wrong with Bell this season. "I think he just had a bad year. His velocity was there, but he didn't throw strikes. That's the way I look at it; maybe he saw something different. He did not command his breaking ball and he got in trouble."
Bell blew his eighth save of the season on Tuesday, when he faced three batters and allowed two hits and a walk as the Marlins saw a three-run eighth-inning lead evaporate. His season ERA climbed to 5.09, more than double what it was with the Padres last year (2.44).
Guillen likened Bell's season to that of slugger Adam Dunn's last year when Guillen was managing Dunn in Chicago. Dunn hit a paltry .159 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs, a year removed from batting .260 with 103 RBIs and belting 38 homers for the second straight season.
Like Bell, Dunn had never dealt with failure quite like that before. Dunn was able to turn it around this season with the White Sox, hitting .204 with 41 home runs and 96 RBIs entering Wednesday's season finale.
"When you got everything easy in your life and all of a sudden you fail one time, you don't know what to do," Guillen said. "Maybe that's what happened to [Bell]. He was so good and all of a sudden, poof, what happened here? He couldn't figure out what happened."
Marlins to wait before deciding Ozzie's fate
MIAMI -- Ozzie Guillen's future as Marlins manager is pretty much in a holding pattern.
Shortly after the Marlins lost, 4-2, to the Mets on Wednesday, Guillen was informed the team will step back, let emotions settle and make a decision on the manager and the coaching staff.
A final decision may not come for a week or a few weeks.
"I expect to come back. I'd love to come back," Guillen said. "I think it's another opportunity, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. We have to look and see what's going to happen, but right now, I'm still a Marlin and I'd love to be a Marlin.
"Like I said, the kind of year we had, you never know. The expectations should be too high for me, my coaching staff or any of the players. That's what it is."
The decision ultimately will be made by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who has yet to reveal his decision.
Not only Guillen's fate is at issue. So is the status of the coaching staff. There is a chance Guillen will stay, but his coaches will be replaced. The contracts of bench coach Joey Cora, hitting coach Eduardo Perez, pitching coach Randy St. Claire, first base coach Gary Thurman, third base coach Joe Espada and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius are all up.
So the team technically may opt not to renew some or all of the staff.
A season that started with such high expectations turned into one of the most frustrating in franchise history.
Guillen is under contract through 2015, and he's set to earn $7.5 million over the next three years.
On Thursday, Guillen and his wife are scheduled to be on a flight for a vacation in Spain.
"Am I going to lose sleep for that?" Guillen said. "Or am I going to worry when I'm on vacation having dinner with my wife about if we're going to be in Miami next year? It ain't going to happen."
In recent weeks, Guillen has had numerous conversations with Loria about the status of the ballclub. The manager said he has not received any indication that his job is on the line.
"If I'm back, I have to make this thing better," he said. "How's it going to happen? Working harder. Maybe teaching them a little bit more. Maybe know the players a little bit better. Maybe expect better things out of the players. There's a lot of things. I don't worry about getting fired."
Guillen has accepted his share of the blame for what happened this year. The Venezuelan native came to Miami with the expectation of guiding the team into contention. It never happened.
Should the Marlins move in another direction, Guillen admits it would hurt his pride.
"Yes, I'd be embarrassed," Guillen said. "Yes, I'd be ashamed of myself. I've got a country to represent. I've got a family. I represent baseball. You don't want to get fired, no matter what you do in life. You will be embarrassed, no matter what you do.
"I'll be at the Winter Meetings, either with the team, or without the team. I will be at the Winter Meetings, either managing the Marlins, or at the Winter Meetings looking for a job."
Ex-Tiger Turner happy to see Detroit in playoffs
MIAMI -- As Jacob Turner was preparing for his final start, which came on Tuesday night, the 21-year-old naturally was following his former team.
The Tigers on Monday night clinched the American League Central when they beat the Royals.
Detroit was able to hold off the White Sox, but it took until the final series of the season to do so.
While Turner is with the Marlins, he did pick up a key win for Detroit. On July 22, the right-hander pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs, while collecting a win against the White Sox.
The next day, Turner was part of a package of prospects traded to the Marlins for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez.
"Obviously, there are a lot of guys over there who I'm really rooting for," Turner said. "It's good to see them be able to win the division. I think they will be a scary team in the playoffs."
Turner is projected to be a big part of the Marlins' rotation for years to come. On Tuesday night, he was impressive in a season-high 7 2/3 innings against the Mets.
Turner gave up one run on three hits, but he wasn't involved in the decision. Miami, after watching a three-run lead disappear in the eighth inning, prevailed , 4-3, in 11 innings.
Still, Turner keeps tabs with some of his former teammates in Detroit.
"I talked to a few of the guys," he said. "Obviously, they are excited. They should be. It was a long season for them. They battled the whole season. They deserve to be where they are at."
Buck, Buehrle offer views on why club struggled
MIAMI -- A big-spending winter and a brand new stadium gave the Marlins high hopes for 2012.
Those hopes and expectations fell short as the Marlins wrapped up their season Wednesday locked into last place in the National League East.
"This season as a whole is pretty deflating just because of the expectations and who we had here," catcher John Buck said. "With the people we had, we all felt we should've won. A lot of people in baseball thought we should win."
Buck added that all that hype wasn't for nothing, that the Marlins are better than their record indicates, which makes the last-place finish that much more painful.
Pinpointing the exact cause of Miami's downfall this year is difficult. Manager Ozzie Guillen summed it up with one word -- failure. Guillen said the Marlins failed at each level of the organization, from the front office, to him as a manager, to his coaching staff and to the players on the field.
Veteran left-handed Mark Buehrle offered a different explanation for the team's shortcomings, saying that injuries were the biggest reason the 2012 incarnation of the Marlins didn't live up to the hype.
"Obviously we didn't play up to our expectations when you have that many injuries and our whole starting outfield in on the DL, either at the same time or different times throughout the season," Buehrle said, referring to various injuries to Logan Morrison, Emilio Bonifacio and Giancarlo Stanton, all of whom started in the outfield on Opening Day.
"Every team goes through injuries, but when those guys go down, you've got to make up for it and we didn't," Buehrle added. "When we lost the big bats that we lost, we couldn't make up for that production that was on the DL. I think that started it and guys didn't play up to the expectations."
Despite the disappointments 2012 presented, many players in the clubhouse pointed to the team's bright spots and expressed belief that there's enough talent to make a quick turnaround next year -- if they add a couple of parts.
"If we get the right pieces and some the young guys click and then some of the older guys do what they're capable of doing, getting big years out of Stanton and Jose [Reyes], we could have a pretty solid team," Buck said. "It's not like we need to rebuild for four or five years down the road. ... It's not that far away."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.