White Sox Must Resolve Guillen Situation Quickly

Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Waiver Trades, Players, Playoffs, Prospects

The long-anticipated and heavily speculated divorce between manager Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox may finally be at hand.

Guillen said last week that he wants a contract extension if he’s going to fulfill the final year of his current deal in 2012. It’s known that the Marlins have interest in Guillen being their new manager as they enter a new life as the Miami Marlins and a new venue as they begin play in their retractable roof, state-of-the-art, baseball-only stadium. The White Sox have stagnated and underperformed in the past three seasons under Guillen’s fiery, blunt, over-the-top leadership.

The White Sox need someone who’s less of a loose cannon; the Marlins need someone who is a bit of a loose cannon and has the cachet and fearlessness to get into the faces of the self-involved rookies like Logan Morrison and diva-veterans like Hanley Ramirez; and Guillen’s worn out his welcome with the White Sox and his GM Kenny Williams.

This has to be done quickly to avoid any legal entanglements and rampant rumor-mongering of what both clubs are going to do. I’m talking about everything happening within days after the season ends.

If I were the White Sox, I’d contact the Marlins to see if they’re still interested in Guillen—and they surely are; I’d go to Guillen and tell him it’s time to part ways; I’d let Guillen’s representatives lay the groundwork for a deal with the Marlins; I’d ask for Chris Coghlan from the Marlins as compensation for Guillen being let out of his contract and move forward.

The White Sox have been expected to win for the past three years and each year have played inconsistently at best.

The Marlins have a load of young talent that needs a good swift kick and a marketable manager to sell to the fans.

Coghlan has collapsed amid the pressures of being Rookie of the Year in 2009 with injuries, position changes and demotions—he needs to start somewhere new.

White Sox GM Williams thinks outside the box when it comes to everything he does; he neither accounts for nor cares about the reaction he gets when he makes a decision; it’s with this in mind that I say the obvious heir apparent to Guillen—coach Joey Cora—might not be the new White Sox manager. Williams almost hired Cito Gaston when he hired Guillen and Yankees bench coach Tony Pena would be a calm presence to counteract the lunacy that was inherent under Guillen.

Either man might be exactly what the White Sox—and Williams—need.

This has to be dealt with and it should be done sooner rather than later for the good of all involved.

//

Advertisements

How About LaRussa Back To The White Sox?

All Star Game, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Prospects, Trade Rumors

The White Sox have accomplished something rare in Chicago: they’re more embarrassing than the Cubs.

Sure, the White Sox have a better record than the Cubs, but they have a lot more talent; no one reasonable was expecting anything more than mediocrity from the Cubs this year and they’ve been terrible; but the White Sox are a train wreck and GM Kenny Williams is going to do something drastic.

The time has passed for him to trade half his roster and he was right to hold his fire at the deadline. They were only 3 games out of first place and had played better to reach .500. Since then, they look like they’ve started their off-season early.

Ozzie Guillen has been rumored to be on the hotseat so many other times and was never fired; he has a contract for next year so there is reason to believe he’ll be back.

But there’s also reason to believe he won’t.

The Marlins wanted Guillen this past winter and the White Sox players don’t seem to be responding to him anymore. The easiest thing to do is to bring in a new manager rather than a boatload of new players especially with the immovable contracts the White Sox have.

The obvious choice in a chain-of-command style scenario would be Joey Cora, but Williams thinks outside the box and does what he wants. Another name I’d expect to be floated is the man who came in second to Guillen when Guillen was hired: Cito Gaston. Gaston didn’t look like he wanted to retire from the Blue Jays after last year and with Jack McKeon and Davey Johnson back in the dugout, it’s not as much of an anomaly to have a much older manager. Gaston will be 68 starting next season.

But how about Tony LaRussa returning to finish his managerial career where he started it?

Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is still close with LaRussa and the Cardinals are in flux despite their flurry of moves to placate the manager and win now.

In fact, the series of trades—that could be referred to as desperate—could be framed as having been made to win immediately in a last ditch effort to close out the LaRussa-era as a winner.

Could the Cardinals be preparing for a future without Albert Pujols just in case he does leave after the season? And would LaRussa have any interest in managing the Cardinals without Pujols?

He’s going year-to-year with his Cardinals contracts and with the rampant dysfunction that’s coming to light with the fight between Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird and the multitude of issues between LaRussa and Tony Rasmus that expedited Colby Rasmus being traded, maybe he and the Cardinals would like to go their separate ways.

If Pujols leaves, the Cardinals are going to be severely compromised in 2012 and at his age (LaRussa will be 67), does he need the aggravation of a Cardinals clubhouse sans Pujols and little chance to win?

The White Sox will have a lot of talent on the roster in 2012 and are ready-made to contend—a perfect spot for LaRussa in both practice and aesthetics.

It’d take a lot for it to happen, but it’s a viable landing spot for a 2-3 year window to try and win another championship and go out in the venue where he came in.

//

Extrapolating The Marlins

Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, Players

Nobody, but nobody had speculated that Edwin Rodriguez would resign of his own accord before getting fired. We continually saw “insiders” and “experts” making statements as to the safety or precariousness of Rodriguez’s position.

Logically, he was going to get fired—soon—had he not resigned.

This is something to look at as to the machinations of the decision.

Here’s my guess: Rodriguez resigned because he was about to be fired and the Marlins front office didn’t want to deal with the fallout of firing another manager and be perceived as a chaotic, Steinbrenneresque outfit that overestimates a flawed roster and reacts by sacrificing the easiest and most disposable member of management—the field manager.

In exchange for his resignation and silence on the inner workings of the club, Rodriguez will have a “place” within the organization either as a coach, minor league manager, roving instructor or something.

He’ll be the good soldier because he is a good soldier. Rodriguez is a workmanlike baseball man who got to the big leagues as a manager the hard way and won’t want to sabotage all that work and riding buses in the minors to tell the truth about how he “chose” to resign.

He left before they could fire him in exchange for a different job.

I’m making it a point to ignore all the continued speculation from the mainstream reporters as to what the Marlins are going to do, but here it is in brief.

First it was Bo Porter, a former Marlins coach and the current 3rd base coach of the Nationals. It’s almost unheard of in this day and age for a team to hire a coach from another team’s staff to take over as their manager.

Then Jack McKeon‘s name was mentioned.

I have the utmost respect for McKeon as an old school baseball man with the bushy mustache and unlit cigar sticking out of his mouth—he looks like he was intentionally cast in the role of a baseball professor.

But he’s 80-years-old.

It’s not age discrimination to say that he’s too old to handle the day-to-day aspects of the job and the scrutiny that will center around his age, the youth of the majority of his roster and that the team has collapsed and is in turmoil.

Some have suggested that the Marlins will name an interim manager for the rest of the season and wait for the potential availability of White sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

Guillen’s job has been in “jeopardy” about 15 other times, but he’s still the White Sox manager. His 2012 option was exercised earlier this season. He’s going to remain the White Sox manager. Not only is he still popular in Chicago, but I get the feeling that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf likes having the antagonistic relationship between Guillen and GM Kenny Williams. That Williams wanted Mike Stanton as compensation from the Marlins when they made a brief overture to speak to Guillen last winter pretty much tells you how motivated he was to let Guillen go.

The thought that longtime bench coach Joey Cora can slide in neatly as Guillen’s replacement is questionable. Cora is a good, feisty baseball man; he deserves and will eventually get a chance to manage, but as has been proven before, the bench coach doesn’t always walk in and replicate the success of his predecessor. John McLaren is an example of this.

Two things tell me the Marlins are going to go for a “name” manager right now.

One, they aren’t giving up on 2011. Nor should they. The parity-laden National League has left the Wild Card wide open and if they get hot they can still climb back to within striking distance of the Phillies. The Marlins don’t do sell-offs in season—they wait until the winter to clear out the house of veterans or players who are becoming too expensive.

Two, they’re heading into the new ballpark next season and want someone who has cachet and name recognition for the casual fan to drum up some excitement.

Bo Porter ain’t it.

Owner Jeffrey Loria let his baseball people talk him out of Bobby Valentine last year. I don’t think he’s going to let that happen again. Valentine will be managing the Marlins at some point be it immediately or after the season.

They have two choices: Valentine or Tony Perez. Perez would take the job on an interim basis, his son Eduardo was recently hired as the hitting coach and Tony has always said he’d like to give managing another try.

With Valentine, the Marlins are going to have to make it worth his while to walk away from his lucrative, cushy and ego-boosting forum on the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast. They’ll have to pay him and give him some say-so over the club construction. Whether the braintrust—Larry Beinfest, Michael Hill, Dan Jennings along with club president David Samson will be on board with this is a question.

Some might, some might not.

But Loria is going to do what he’s going to do.

The Marlins should hire Valentine and they should do it immediately. He’s a great manager, he’d spark enthusiasm and he’d run the team correctly.

He’s the best choice.

//