Tag:Ozzie Guillen
Posted on: September 2, 2011 2:00 am

3 to Watch: The White Sox crisis edition

If the White Sox somehow find their way back into the race in the American League Central, will Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams stop fighting long enough to enjoy it?

Should they?

Sometimes it feels like the White Sox only play well when they're in crisis. Sure enough, they've won seven of their last 10, during a stretch that included Guillen's strange demand for a contract extension and also, according to sources, a nasty pregame confrontation between Williams and one of Guillen's coaches.

Sometimes it seems that if things get ugly enough off the field, the White Sox respond by avoiding ugly play on the field.

The Sox are still 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers, which means they probably need to win at least five of the six remaining head-to-head meetings to have any chance at a miracle run.

The White Sox get their first chance this weekend in Detroit, with three meetings Sept. 12-14 in Chicago. Neither team's schedule is particularly taxing otherwise, which is better news for the Tigers, as the team holding a significant lead.

If there were close races elsewhere, we'd barely acknowledge Tigers-White Sox. But five of the eight playoff spots are basically wrapped up, and baseball is in real danger of a September without drama.

If you want a pennant race, root for the second-place Giants this weekend against the first-place Diamondbacks, who lead San Francisco by six games. And if you like your drama on and off the field, root for the White Sox against the Tigers.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The next seven days might be the most crucial remaining stretch in the American League West, even though the first-place Rangers and second-place Angels will be on opposite coasts. The Rangers have six games at Boston and at Tampa Bay, which could give the Angels (six home games against the Twins and Mariners) a chance to eat into their 3 1/2-game deficit. It begins for Texas with Rangers at Red Sox, Friday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. It could also be an interesting night for the Red Sox, who are starting to believe that Andrew Miller could help them in some role in the playoffs. Miller, the 6-foot-7 left-hander, shut out the Rangers for 6 1/3 innings last week in Texas.

2. The Diamondbacks have won nine in a row, and as everyone in Arizona no doubt knows by now, club president Derrick Hall and general manager Kevin Towers vowed to shave their heads if the team ever won 10 straight. That could happen Friday night, when Joe Saunders faces Matt Cain. But the most interesting pitching matchup of the weekend comes a day later, in Diamondbacks at Giants, Saturday night (9:05 ET) at AT&T Park. Ian Kennedy, a Cy Young candidate this year, faces Tim Lincecum, a Cy candidate every year.

3. The presence of Justin Verlander in the Tiger rotation makes it unlikely they'll lose enough games to blow a 5 1/2-game lead. But if the Tigers are to truly be dangerous in the playoffs, they'd likely need Max Scherzer to find some consistency, as well. Scherzer has a 1.64 ERA in three starts this year against the White Sox, but he gave up seven runs in three innings Monday night against the Royals. Scherzer faces Mark Buehrle in White Sox at Tigers, Sunday night (8:09 ET) at Comerica Park.

Posted on: August 5, 2011 1:08 pm

Ozzie and 'the idiots out there'

Did you notice that Ozzie Guillen referred to his critics as "the idiots out there, the geniuses"?

Did you see that Ozzie said struggling center fielder Alex Rios is "brutal everywhere"?

Maybe you did, maybe you didn't. These Ozzie eruptions happen so often, it's easy to overlook them.

Oh, it's just Ozzie . . . again.

There's no indication that this one is any different, but some people who know the White Sox organization well are starting to believe that this year could be different. They're starting to believe that someone other than Ozzie Guillen will be managing the White Sox next year.

It's always dangerous to predict this. Jerry Reinsdorf is the most loyal owner in baseball. He has stuck with Ozzie through a lot worse crises than this.

And Ozzie has done as much as anyone to make the White Sox relevant in a town that still loves the Cubs.

When the Marlins came calling last winter, Reinsdorf asked a steep price (reportedly Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton) to let Ozzie out of his contract, and then he extended that contract for another year, through 2012.

So why would this year be any different?

Here's why it might be: First off, the White Sox are maybe the most disappointing team in baseball this year. Reinsdorf spent more money than ever ($128 million), passing the Tigers for the biggest payroll in the division.

Second, the front office nearly blew the team up with major trades before the July 31 deadline, and without a big turnaround between now and the end of the season, maybe that blow-up comes this winter, instead. If they're trying to change everything, maybe it's time to change managers, too.

Finally, there's Florida. The Marlins put 80-year-old Jack McKeon in charge as an interim manager when Edwin Rodriguez quit. They'll be looking for a new manager, to take the team into the new ballpark next spring. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria loves Guillen.

It could well turn into a disaster. Guillen's White Sox players know him well, and there are enough veterans in the clubhouse to let any newcomers know that "that's just Ozzie." Who would do that in Miami?

What happens when Ozzie calls Marlins critics "idiots out there," or something worse?

I can't see it working. I'm still not convinced it's going to happen.

But more than ever before, it at least seems possible that Ozzie's eight-year run with the White Sox could be nearing the end.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 19, 2011 1:31 pm

Marlins job is the best . . . or the worst

In Josh Johnson, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, the Marlins have some of the best young players in baseball. They have a new stadium set to open next year.

They have a talented and creative front office.

Who wouldn't want to manage this team?

In Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins have an eccentric owner who is always convinced his team should be in the playoffs, but rarely convinced that he should pay for it. In David Samson, they have a club president who, to be blunt, is one of the least-liked people in the game. They have a new ballpark coming, yes, but many people who know the South Florida market are convinced it's in the wrong location and will never solve their attendance problems. And they're in the National League East, quickly becoming one of the best -- and maybe one of the biggest-spending -- divisions in baseball.

Who would want to manage this team?

There are times I think the Marlins job is a great one, so great that I could believe Bobby Valentine would want it, so great that I could believe Ozzie Guillen would leave his "second father," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, for it.

"The next year or two, they will really be heard from," one baseball person familiar with the Marlins said on Sunday, after Edwin Rodriguez resigned as the team's latest manager. "Those young kids just need to be toughened up."

Those young kids are incredibly talented. Johnson, currently on the disabled list, is mentioned every year as a possible Cy Young winner. Scouts can't stop talking about Stanton, who has as much raw power as any player in baseball. And while Ramirez is in the midst of a hugely disappointing season, he's a 27-year-old three-time All-Star who has already won a batting title.

A month ago, when the Marlins were one game out of first place in the NL East, it was easy to believe that they would stay in the race all year. People were asking how Loria would deal with Rodriguez having all this success, when everyone knew the owner really wanted Ozzie Guillen as his manager.

Then came the collapse, which also tells you something about these Marlins players. One Marlins person complained that players spent too much time "pouting" after Loria ordered hitting coach John Mallee fired last week.

Maybe they do need to be toughened up. Maybe the right manager will turn this team into the playoff contender that Loria has always claimed they should be.

But remember the obstacles. Loria is a George Steinbrenner, but without the big spending. The NL East features the great Phillies and the outstanding (and young) Braves, along with the Nationals (Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann and a willingness to spend big) and the Mets (big problems now, but with the New York market to draw on, big potential ahead).

This is either the best job in baseball, or the worst. I'll let you know when I figure out which one it is.

Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:55 pm

Some tweet . . . and some goggle?

Ozzie Guillen tweets . And it cost him money.

Joe Maddon tweets , and provides information. Wednesday, the Rays manager disclosed on Twitter that his team will dress in Navy Seal Team 6 T-shirts and Tampa Bay Lightning caps on its upcoming trip.

Pablo Sandoval tweets. Wednesday, he provided a picture of himself in his hospital bed, getting ready for surgery.

But not everyone in baseball tweets.

"I don't know how to tweet," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday.

He's not alone.

"What's a tweet?" Jim Leyland asked Tigers writers this spring.

Leyland is the same guy who once said, "I don't Google. I don't goggle."
Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:29 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 10:16 pm

The White Sox in crisis -- as usual

NEW YORK -- Every year, we go through this with the White Sox.

Every year, we go through this with Ozzie Guillen.

"Every year at some point, somehow, I'm getting fired," Guillen said Monday.

Yes, crisis time is here again for the White Sox, although Monday night's 2-0 win over the Yankees will help a little. Now the White Sox are 2-10 over their last 12 games, matching those other Sox, who went 2-10 over their first 12 games.

But even if there was panic all over New England until the Red Sox began winning, it's safe to say that no one does crisis quite like the White Sox. The only surprise is that Ozzie hasn't said anything -- yet -- that would have people asking if this time, he really is going to get fired.

The assumption from people who know White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has always been that only something Guillen says -- something really, really bad -- could get him fired. But some of those same people are wondering this week whether this team could play poorly enough that Guillen's job would become an issue.

"Is Ozzie's voice getting old?" one of those people asked Monday.

The word in the White Sox clubhouse is that it's not, that Ozzie is the same as ever and that this is just a bad stretch of games like other bad stretches the White Sox have endured.

"He's the same guy he's been since my first year here," said Matt Thornton, now in his sixth year as a White Sox reliever. "He just has a little more gray hair, most of it my fault."

Other White Sox players and coaches say the same thing, and Guillen's pregame media session Monday was like any number of others he has held when White Sox times have been bad.

He expressed confidence in his team ("We need to go out and let the talent take over"), defended hitting coach Greg Walker ("Some [players] out there are making $12-15 million. Greg Walker's only making $100,000. We're not struggling because of Greg Walker"), and joked about his lack of a true closer ("Somebody's going to be out there, and we have to pray, because we need a win").

And, asked whether general manager Ken Williams would want to talk to him about changing coaches, Guillen said, "If they're going to blame anybody, I take the blame. If somebody's got to be fired here, it's Ozzie."

Williams arrived in New York after a flight delay ("Two and half hours with angry Sox fans," he said), and also expressed confidence that the White Sox are much better than their record.

"We have the ability, we have the talent," Williams said. "Call me crazy, but I happen to think we've got a pretty good team out there. They're what we think they are."

We've heard it all before, and we've seen this all before. Just last year, the White Sox started 8-13, the same record they had before Sunday's loss in Detroit.

The difference this year is that the Sox now have the highest payroll in the division (a club-record $127.8 million), and also that they pushed their players harder in spring training in hopes of getting off to a fast start.

"We got off to a slow start last year, and it ended up costing us the division," said starter Jake Peavy, who believes he needs just two more rehab starts before making his 2011 debut.

They have been here before, but has it been this bad?

Scouts who watched the White Sox over the last week described them as "uninspired" and said there was "no energy."

"They're going to snap out of it . . . I think," said one scout who has followed the White Sox for years.

You have to figure they will, because you have to figure that some of their big hitters will start hitting. While the bullpen was the problem early in the season (and while the White Sox still have just one save in seven opportunities), the biggest recent problem has been a severe lack of offense.

And while it's true that the White Sox have faced great pitching during this 2-10 slide (David Price, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Justin Verlander, and then A.J. Burnett Monday night), it's also true that they've scored just 27 runs in that span.

New designated hitter Adam Dunn had a ground ball that brought in a run Monday, but he's still hitting just .158 with 24 strikeouts in 57 at-bats. Alex Rios had a hit Monday, but that broke an 0-for-22 skid. Gordon Beckham has just one hit in his last 29 at-bats.

"Hitting is so mental," Walker said. "Right now, our team doesn't feel that good about themselves. But deep down, they know they're good."

They should be good. They should be much better than this.

But weren't we saying the exact same thing a couple of weeks back about a different group of Sox?

The Red Sox lost 10 of their first 12. The White Sox has lost 10 of their last 12.

Is it that different?

"I saw them a lot in spring training, and I thought they'd have a heck of a year," one scout said Monday.

Just to be clear, he was talking about the White Sox.

Posted on: August 19, 2010 11:39 pm

Ozzie: AL Central 'going all the way to the wire'

MINNEAPOLIS -- It'll be interesting to see where the American League Central race is a week from now.

Today, it still feels like the Twins are in control, even after Thursday's 11-0 White Sox win in the teams' last head-to-head meeting until Sept. 14 -- and their final scheduled game at Target Field this year.

But if the White Sox really did get going by scoring 23 runs in three games this week, as manager Ozzie Guillen suggested, then they should do well this weekend in Kansas City and next week at home against the Orioles.

The Twins host the Angels this weekend, then play four games in Texas. It's possible, though perhaps not likely, that this race could get close again before it's over.

"If we score runs, we'll be fine," Guillen said. "I predict this thing is going to be all the way to the wire. We will fight. I don't know how far we'll go, but we'll fight like a champion.

"This team has come a long way. I told the guys when we took the field, 'Let's enjoy this moment.' I like the way they're playing."

Guillen talked about the hitting, but if the White Sox are going to make a run like the one they made after falling 9 1/2 games back in early June, they'll probably need to do it the same way they did it the last time -- with strong starting pitching.

From June 9 to the All-Star break, when the Sox went 24-5 and went from 9 1/2 back to half a game in front, the rotation had a combined 2.43 ERA. One big difference between then and now is that Jake Peavy was still active for most of that stretch, before he was lost for the season on July 6.

A White Sox team with an ace like Peavy would be a lot more dangerous now, not to mention a lot more dangerous if they did make the postseason.

At least the Sox still have Mark Buehrle, their de facto ace before the Peavy trade. After John Danks and Gavin Floyd gave the Twins a combined six first-inning runs Tuesday and Wednesday, Buehrle set a different tone Thursday by setting the first eight Twins down in order, and carrying the shutout through seven innings.

Buehrle admitted that this was a game the White Sox basically had to win.

"We can't give up," he said. "We've got [41] games left. But if you're down six games, the chances are slim."

They're not down six games. They're down four games.

They're not totally done. They're just trending the wrong way.

Let's see where this is in another week.
Posted on: April 30, 2010 5:52 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2010 7:00 pm

Ozzie speaks out

NEW YORK -- Ozzie Guillen isn't illegal, and he may not be your typical immigrant. But given the platform, the White Sox manager is more than willing to speak out for immigrants everywhere.

Guillen -- a Venezuela native who became a U.S. citizen in 2006 -- said that his adopted country should be happy that so many people want to live here.

"People come here for a reason," Guillen said, when asked about the new Arizona immigration law. "People don't come here for a bad reason. They don't come here to do bad stuff. They come here to make money, they come here to work, and they come here to make this country better. This country can't  live without all the Latinos. Sorry. . There's a lot of people from this country, they're very lazy. We do the hard work. We're the one who've got to go out there and work in the sun, all day long, to make this country better.

"We're not leaving."

Guillen had one more thing to say.

"The funny thing about it, most of the police that stop you [in Arizona], the last name is Hernandez or Rojas."

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 9, 2010 7:04 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:06 pm

Goodbye Cactus, Hello Grapefruit

ORLANDO -- I've traded Aroldis Chapman for Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay, Angel Guzman for Joe Nathan, Los Sombreros in Scottsdale for Frenchy's in Clearwater, cactus for grapefruit.

After three weeks checking out the 15 teams in Arizona, I've checked out of Phoenix and touched down in Florida (and colleague Scott Miller has left Florida for the desert).

A few sights, thoughts and observations from half of spring training with half the teams:

-- Best story: It doesn't get much better than Chapman, whose name comes up in almost every Cactus League ballpark, whether the Reds are there or not. The other day in Mesa, scouts were debating whether he'd have signed for the same money if he was Dominican rather than Cuban. The consensus: Yes, he would have, because you just don't find left-handed starters who throw 100 mph.

-- Best team: The White Sox, whose road to an American League Central title got a little easier with today's news about Twins closer Joe Nathan. Other impressive teams: The Rockies, the Mariners and the Angels.

-- Worst team: The Indians, even though prospects Carlos Santana ("another Victor Martinez") and Lonnie Chisenhall are getting great reviews.

-- Player who looks the most different: With apologies to Andruw Jones and Geovany Soto, it has to be Matt Stairs, barely recognizable after losing 37 pounds. "When you get to Clearwater, tell [Shane] Victorino that I'm smaller than him," Stairs requested. And we will. Oh, and give credit to Jones and Soto, who both seem to have taken conditioning seriously over the winter.

-- Team that has the most fun: Apologies to the Rockies and the Brewers, but it's got to be the Mariners. Just the sight of Felix Hernandez serving as bat boy in the M's intrasquad game (with "BB" taped over the number on his back) was all the proof I needed.

-- Strangest sight: Walking through the abandoned White Sox clubhouse building in Tucson for the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton press conference. The Sox moved to Glendale last year, but the doors to the empty clubhouse still have Sox logos on them. Next year, all of Tucson will be a baseball ghost town, but for now, it's just half of Tucson Electric Park.

-- Best quote: A tie between Torii Hunter and Ozzie Guillen. Torii on losing to the Yankees in the playoffs: "I couldn't stand up. All I want now is the ring. Not a gold glove. Not the Hall of Fame. My satisfaction would be winning the World Series. If I get that, I'm passing out on the field." Ozzie on whether Lou Piniella will manage past 2010: "They keep paying you, why go see your family every day? We need people like Lou in this game. Lou is what . . . just 65? I thought he was 78."
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com