You won’t find many White Sox fans who support Ozzie Guillen as much as I do.
Mostly due to the constant controversy that surrounds him, he’s grossly underestimated as a manager. Just as important, he’s one of us–a White Sox guy through and through–and he is the face of the franchise nationwide. For a team that struggles with its identity even in its own city, the importance of that reality can’t be ignored. And I haven’t even mentioned that he brought us a World Series ring.
Now, as this schizophrenic Sox season comes to an end, Ozzie is asking for his bosses to give him some love beyond the security of being here one more year with an option for another–vested if he wins the A.L. Central next year. The skipper seems to want an answer as he sees the Marlins job his for the taking. How do you say leverage in Spanish?
Despite those voices that keep saying that Ozzie has lost the team, and point to the September collapse as proof, I want him back. White Sox World needs him for the reasons expressed above and I don’t want to be in the position of regretting his loss after he’s left. His departure has all the makings of a perfect example of how you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone.
Because of his intensity and passion, I’ve also been a big fan of Kenny Williams. While he’s made his share of miscalculations, he’s been outstanding overall. I have to admit that his recent admission to how he’s been affected by the stress of the job troubles me. Especially when it’s put in the context of deciding who’s more important to the Sox–Ozzie or KW–and who will stay and who will go.
As the drama unfolds in the weeks ahead, it may very well be a matter of choosing one or the other. It’s my contention that what’s best for the White Sox is to make Ozzie happy and promote Williams, who would then be off the daily rollercoaster. This would open the door for the club to give the GM job to KW’s No. 2 Rick Hahn, who would give the Sox a fresh approach as they attempt to be consistent contenders in the A.L. Central.
Some White Sox thoughts on a football Saturday:
* Even before this week Sox fans got used to the fact that we weren’t going to catch the Twins. No one is really talking about it, but we now have a challenge to stay ahead of the Tigers and secure second place. After last night only six games separate us and Detroit. Two more Tiger victories this weekend (it’s Lucas Harrell vs. 16-game winner Justin Verlander this afternoon) and our lead is down to four. Then it’s off to the West Coast followed by a four-game series with the depleted, but always tough, Red Sox. I don’t want to cause any panic, I’m just saying…
* I wrote it before we acquired Manny Ramirez, I wrote it when we got Manny and I’ll say it again now after Manny has had no impact on the Sox pennant chances: regardless of his performance in a Sox uniform, it was the right thing for management to do. I do find it almost laughable, though, that it took a green uniform (because of the halfway to St. Patrick’s Day promotion) and nearly three weeks for him to record his first home run and RBI. To be fair, he is hitting .295 with a .456 on base percentage since arriving in Chicago.
* The Sox brass has a lot of lot of decisions to make in the offseason. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the ’11 Pale Hose are constituted. Some questions:
–Will the Sox sign free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski?
–Will the South Siders bring back Omar Vizquel, after his amazing season?
–Will the intense, but brittle, Carlos Quentin be back?
–Will Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks, who both seemed to take a step back this season, be viable candidates for the major league roster?
–What will become of Freddy Garcia?
–Will Chris Sale be in the starting rotation?
–Will Jake Peavy be ready for spring training?
–I can’t see Manny, Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones returning, so who becomes the DH?
–All indications are that Bobby Jenks is a goner, so who will close? J.J. Putz?
–Despite the fact he has two more years to go on his three-year deal, will the disappointing Mark Teahen still be in a Sox uniform even as a utilityman?
–What are Brent Morel‘s chances of winning the starting third base job? Maybe a platoon with Vizquel?
–I know I’m burying the lead, but will both Ozzie and Kenny Williams be back?
The offseason certainly won’t be boring.
Being a glass half-full guy, I don’t believe I’ve ever been as critical of a White Sox player in this blog as I’m going to be today.
As they say, there’s a first time for everything.
Mark Teahen contributes very little offensively and is a horror show at third base. Contrary to what others might believe, it is no coincidence that the Sox surge began when Teahen hit the DL in June and Omar Vizquel took over at third. Unfortunately for us, all those years of losing in Kansas City seems to have shaped his baseball persona.
Tonight, Teahen’s throwing error on what appeared to be a routine double play ball in the fourth inning (his second throwing miscue of the game) opened the door for four Tiger
runs–three unearned–paving the way for the 5-1 Sox loss, their second in as many nights in Detroit after the seven-game winning streak.
A major league team can’t afford to play a third baseman in a pennant race who can’t defend his position. Kenny Williams was fooled on this one when he dealt Chris Getz and Josh Fields for Teahen and then signed him to a three-year contract. Getz and Fields are no huge losses, but Teahen has been a disaster and, worse yet, it might be difficult to get rid of his contract after this year.
But he needs to go. I want 2010 to be the last year I see him in this uniform.
I don’t think my White Sox posse is much different than most Sox fans. We’ve been pretty hard on Mark Teahen. First, he got off to a terrible start in spring training and then unpleasantly surprised us with his subpar defense at third base with an offensive game that was nothing to brag about.
Perhaps the biggest indictment of all is that he went on the DL with the bum finger at the same time the South Siders began their run to the top of the A.L. Central. Coincidence or not, when Omar Vizquel became the Sox regular third baseman the Hose began to roll.
So it’s been a running joke with us that the Twins will get Justin Morneau back from the DL and we get Teahen. Kind of a consolation prize. When somebody went for the laugh last night via e-mail, I responded by saying, “Wouldn’t it be funny if he made a huge impact down the stretch?”
Well, he’s off to a good start. In his first game back, the Rodney Dangerfield of Sox players batted fifth, played right field and went 2 for 4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored in the 8-4 Sox victory over the Tigers.
Kenny Williams pursued Adam Dunn, had Lance Berkman in the fold until the then-Astro nixed the deal and surely looked at others. I don’t want to overreact to one game, but maybe we had that lefthanded hitter we coveted all along. He was just on the DL.
And maybe the joke’s on us.
The false rumors about Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn being dealt to the White Sox might make it seem like the South Siders failed to get the job done at the trade deadline. I look at it quite the opposite. Sometimes the trades you don’t make benefit you the most.
I certainly don’t know exactly what the asking price was for either slugger, but adding one or the other could have hurt more than helped if it meant giving up the likes of Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin or Tyler Flowers. Not only for the future, but for the present–on the field and in the clubhouse. And we all know Kenny Williams. If there is a way to improve the club by claiming somebody on the waiver wire, he’ll do it.
With Jake Peavy out for the season, Edwin Jackson (pictured above) is a fine pickup. I hated to part with Daniel Hudson, who has the potential of being a fine major league starter, but Jackson’s veteran presence will help fill the Peavy void. He’s also signed through next season.
Thought for the day: No need to dwell on last night’s 6-2 loss to the A’s. It was bound to happen after the amazing winning streak at home. The important thing is to come out today and beat former Sox Gio Gonzalez and stay ahead of the surging Twins, now just a half-game behind.
Lucas Harrell is up, Edwin Jackson is in and Daniel Hudson is out.
Anything else happen in White Sox World yesterday? Oh yeah, the South Siders won their fifth in row and their 12th straight at home–an impressive 6-1 victory over those pesky A’s.
As we turn our attention to today’s trade deadline, we’re well aware that Kenny Williams may not be done. Will Jackson be turned around in a package for Adam Dunn? Is Brett Myers on the horizon? Is there a wild-card player out there that KW has his eye on? I’m going to hold my comments until the deadline has passed since I’ve got a feeling we’re not done.
The Harrell story is a nice one. Drafted in 2004, it has taken Lucas all this time to reach the majors and he made the most of it, giving up a single run in six innings for his first major league victory.
Harrell on the mound…
Getting a hand from the crowd…
And being greeted with the traditional beer shower…
Harrell may be on his way back to Charlotte when Jackson arrives, but what a night it was for a guy who has waited a long time to reach the bigs and woke up yesterday morning having no idea he was on his way to Chicago.
I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that last night’s 4-3 squeaker over the Royals was one of the season’s most important wins. I say that because after two straight losses following the 11-game streak, the Sox could not afford a third defeat in a row with Zack Greinke on the mound tonight and three against the hot Rangers in Arlington on the horizon.
On this night it was the pitching, especially the bullpen, that was instrumental in eeking out the victory. The South Siders scored four early runs to take a commanding lead, but the Royals got to Gavin Floyd with three in the fifth to narrow the lead to one. Then Floyd calmed down, went 6 2/3 and benefited from 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief from Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, who earned the save. With the Twins win over the Tigers, they move back into first, 1/2 game in front of Detroit and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Sox.
Rumor mill: While the Sox are mum and Ozzie is on record saying we don’t need a big lefthanded bat right now, rumors have it that the club is exploring the possibility of bringing powerful first baseman/outfielder Adam Dunn of the Nationals (above) into the fold by the trading deadline. There’s no question the Sox could use some lefty pop, but they aren’t the only ones who covet Dunn. Whether it’s the D.C. slugger or someone else, I’m confident Kenny Williams will add a lefthanded bat before July 31.