Are the White Sox Rebuilding or Not?

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White Sox GM Kenny Williams uttered the unutterable word after the club’s disappointing 2011 season ended and manager Ozzie Guillen had been traded to the Marlins when he said, “rebuilding”.

After following the win-now edict and acting accordingly by relying on veterans and mostly ignoring the farm system as anything other than a means for immediate help or to trade for veteran players, they hired a neophyte manager in Robin Ventura; traded closer Sergio Santos; and allowed veterans Mark Buehrle, Ramon Castro and Juan Pierre to depart via free agency.

But Williams’s actions don’t imply a full-blown teardown.

Such is the case as he signed lefty starter John Danks—about whom he was listening to trade proposals—to a 5-year, $65 million contract extension precluding his free agency after next season and locking him up for four years hence.

Danks is a good pitcher and if he maintains his performance from the past 5 years, he’ll be a bargain in comparison to what he would’ve gotten as a free agent.

But I don’t understand the dual messages the White Sox are sending.

Are they rebuilding or not?

If they are rebuilding while trying to remain competitive, wouldn’t they have been better off signing Buehrle to a contract similar to what he got from the Marlins and trading Danks for 2-3 prospects? Buehrle presumably would’ve given a discount to the White Sox to stay and Danks is a very marketable arm.

So which is it?

If the White Sox were in the American or National League East or the AL West, I’d say they should start over, but they’re not. The AL Central doesn’t have a dominant team and any team can win it in 2012.

So many things went wrong for the White Sox over the past two seasons, perhaps the managerial change from the controversial and loud Guillen to the calm and respected Ventura, plus a tweak here and there, places them right back in the thick of things.

Given the immovable nature of some of their contracts—Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy especially—what sense did it make to give these mixed signals of their planned course?

There are plenty of “ifs” involved with their 2012 club.

If Chris Sale transitions well to the starting rotation…

If Philip Humber can continue pitching as well as he did in 2011…

If Peavy can return to some semblance of his Padres form…

If Dunn hits better than a moderately threatening starting pitcher who doubled as an outfielder in college…

If, if, if…

But there’s enough talent to contend in that parity-laden division—all the teams have flaws—and with that in mind, what the White Sox are currently doing doesn’t make much sense at all.

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Diamondbacks Sign Jason Kubel—Is There a Reason?

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This is either overkill; an impulse buy; or a precursor to other deals.

Unless the Diamondbacks are going to make a trade including Gerardo Parra, I’m not understanding what they need with Jason Kubel.

Kubel’s a useful ancillary piece; he has some pop and should feel liberated to have gained freedom from the cavernous Twins home park Target Field that robbed him of his home field production; he’s not costing a fortune nor is his deal long-term (2-years, $15 million with an option for 2014); but the Diamondbacks don’t need him…unless GM Kevin Towers has something cooking with Parra going somewhere in a trade.

Parra won a Gold Glove for his play in left field in 2011 and he had a fine year at the plate with a .784 OPS and 15 stolen bases; Kubel isn’t a very good outfielder; not only is Towers failing to improve his offense to any great degree other than Kubel having more power than Parra—mitigated by his lack of speed and that he doesn’t hit lefties—he’s also weakened his outfield defense.

Is Towers disbelieving Parra’s breakout year? I don’t see why since Parra put up similar numbers in the minors and is only 24, but that’s a scouting determination that needs to be made.

Towers has been looking for pitching and the White Sox are willing to clean house; Parra is the type of player that White Sox GM Kenny Williams might have interest in to take over in left field for Juan Pierre; perhaps Towers has his eye on John Danks or Gavin Floyd and Parra would be part of that trade.

Other than that, this was a redundant maneuver that makes no sense at all.

Then again, as much as Towers is lauded for being a “great” GM, he’s done some stupid things in his time. One came in 1998 when, as Padres GM, he claimed Randy Myers on waivers to prevent him from going to the Braves (who didn’t want Myers) and nearly got fired because of it.

I don’t know why he would give nearly $4 million guaranteed to Willie Bloomquist.

So it’s not as if there’s always a logical explanation for what Towers does.

Does the Kubel signing and benching of Parra fall into the former category as part of a plan or the latter of just “doing stuff”?

I’m not sure.

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White Sox Hire….Robin Ventura?!?

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Baseball’s James Bond Villain, White Sox GM Kenny Williams, has seen his evil schemes in recent years turn out…well, like those of an actual James Bond villain, meaning that they didn’t work; in fact, they were overwrought (taking Alexis Rios‘s contract from the Blue Jays); expensive and miserable (Adam Dunn); and undermined by a treacherous second in command (Ozzie Guillen).

Now he’s done something for which “outside-the-box” doesn’t even fit by hiring Robin Ventura as the new White Sox manager.

In theory and as a person, Ventura would be a fine managerial candidate; but he’s never managed anywhere and only joined the White Sox as special assistant to director of player development Buddy Bell last June. The understated, thoughtful and happy-go-lucky Ventura is the opposite of the manic and combative former manager Guillen. The media at large will be pleased in the sense that they won’t require a translator or repeated re-typing of their stories to counteract spell-check trying to manufacture Guillen’s quotes into something intelligible. (Yes. That’s what he really said! It’s supposed to be: “I didn’t know nothin when I brung Floyd off ‘da game.”)

Ventura’s never managed at any level, but we see managers all over the place with loads of experience who do endlessly ridiculous things, so what’s the difference? He’ll handle the media, be respected in the clubhouse and if he gets a veteran bench coach who preferably has managerial experience, it could work.

There are things to be concerned about. He’s never done it, so he might not like it; and the strategic issues cannot be ignored. But the White Sox are decisive in their maneuverings and they decided that the former White Sox star player Ventura was the guy.

Why not? Give it a shot and see. If it doesn’t go well, they’ll get someone else.

On another note, former Mets GM and connoisseur of interns and underlings for sexual thrills Steve Phillips, said that he doesn’t feel as if Tampa Bay Rays bench coach and suggested candidate for several managerial jobs including that of the White Sox, Dave Martinez has the “presence” to be a big league manager.

I’m not sure how Phillips would know this, but it’s a bit irresponsible for the man who hired Art Howe—not exactly Mr. Personality—to run the Mets in replacing the larger-than-life and ego as big as Neptune Bobby Valentine to be publicly denigrating someone he doesn’t even know.

But with Phillips there’s always an agenda and presumably there’s one at work here.

He hired Howe because the club’s first choice, Lou Piniella, was going to cost compensation in terms of players and, more importantly, would’ve usurped Phillips’s power. Howe wasn’t going to do that.

The funniest bit about that whole episode was Valentine’s reaction when told he was fired by the Mets; referring to Phillips he said, “And he stays?!?” in disbelief.

Yes. He stayed. Until May the next year when Phillips was fired too.

Maybe it was his presence that was the problem. The Mets didn’t want it around anymore and they made it disappear early the next season.

Valentine must’ve been amused.

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MLB GM/Manager Merry Go ‘Round

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Let’s have a look at the GMs and managers who might be looking for work after the season ends and who might replace them.

First things first, Brian Cashman is not leaving the Yankees; Theo Epstein is not leaving the Red Sox. So forget it.

Baltimore Orioles

Andy MacPhail won’t be back as GM and Buck Showalter has pretty much taken control of the whole operation. Clearly things aren’t going to go as swimmingly as they were when Showalter took over a year ago and the Orioles went 34-23 and then got off to a 6-1 start this season.

Everyone started going crazy based on Buck and Buck alone; apparently they didn’t look at the Orioles’ roster and the division beforehand.

The Orioles are a long-term rebuilding project, especially in the pitching department.

They have to find a GM who’s agreeable to Showalter without said GM appearing to be a puppet for the manager.

John Hart has been mentioned. He hired Showalter with the Rangers and is a veteran baseball man who’ll stand his ground in a disagreement. He’d be a good choice.

Chicago White Sox

There’s speculation that both GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen could both be gone.

Williams isn’t going anywhere.

Guillen’s going to the Marlins.

I discussed this earlier and don’t think it’s a guarantee that Guillen bench coach Joey Cora takes over as the new manager. Cito Gaston and Tony Pena are two possibilities.

Los Angeles Angels

Tony Reagins was said to be in trouble after the disastrous Vernon Wells trade, but how can you fire a man whose team might win the division and, at the very least, will win around 90 games?

You can’t.

Oakland Athletics

I’m saying it now: Billy Beane is going to the Cubs (if they want him); David Forst will take over as A’s GM.

Here’s what’s going to happen: the A’s are going to have a good year in 2012; the Cubs are going to have a good year in 2012; all of a sudden, Billy will be a “genius” again after the fallout of the ridiculousness of Moneyball the film and Moneyball the book.

I’ll be a major facilitator of said fallout.

I can hear it now and almost go on a tangent before it even happens: “It turns out that Billy was a genius!!”

Um…no. He wasn’t. And isn’t.

Seattle Mariners

Jack Zduriencik signed what was referred to as a “multi-year extension”. I suppose a 2-year extension counts as “multi-year”, but it’s not brimming with confidence.

The extension is through 2013 and if the Mariners have a bad year in 2012, he’s going to get fired.

Just out of curiosity, for what purpose are the Mariners writing Willy Mo Pena‘s name in the lineup? They don’t have anyone else to look at instead of the journeyman Pena?

Florida Marlins

Ozzie Guillen is going to be the next manager of the Marlins…unless he gets into an immediate argument with team president David Samson at the introductory press conference. A legitimate possibility.

Buster Olney tweeted that owner Jeffrey Loria and Samson are going to take a more active role in player procurement this winter. Sounds like Jerry Jones with the Cowboys. Which is to say it doesn’t sound good.

St. Louis Cardinals

Tony LaRussa has a 2012 mutual option with the Cardinals. The White Sox would be a place for LaRussa to finish his career in a full circle move to go back where he started; if Albert Pujols leaves the Cardinals, it’s hard to imagine LaRussa wanting to deal with the Cardinals without Pujols, but I think Pujols stays and so does LaRussa.

Chicago Cubs

Beane’s going to the Cubs; given how little he thinks of his managers, it wouldn’t do any harm (in his eyes) for him to hire Ryne Sandberg to manage the team and it would automatically get him in the good graces of Cubs fans.

Houston Astros

The ownership change from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane is going slowly; either way, I believe both GM Ed Wade and manager Brad Mills are going to get fired as soon as it’s done.

Who knows who Crane’s going to bring in as GM? But re-hiring former Astros GM and now Rays executive Gerry Hunsicker is a good plan if Rays GM Andrew Friedman turns them down. If they hire Friedman or Hunsicker, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is a managerial prospect.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The McCourt ownership situation is what it is. There was talk that Ned Colletti might be a choice for the Cubs, but I doubt he’s leaving the Dodgers; if he does, Kim Ng would be perfect.

Don Mattingly not only deserves to keep his job, he deserves some Manager of the Year votes for keeping the team playing hard and respectably.

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MLB Lightning Strikes 8.4.2011

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The trading deadline was not the finish line.

Soxfinger is about to press the button.

Amid all the threats from White Sox GM Kenny Williams (AKA the James Bond villain known as Soxfinger) that he was going to blow up his roster for underperformance, there wasn’t much of a chance of him doing it while the team was at or near .500 and within 3 or so games of first place.

Now, after the trading deadline, the White Sox have lost every game they’ve played and looked awful doing it.

Their veterans are putting out the aura that they’ve relaxed with the passing of that arbitrary date of July 31st.

In case they hadn’t noticed, most of them have contracts which will allow them to get through waivers. The others who’ll be claimed—Mark Buehrle, Carlos Quentin, Matt Thornton—had probably better prepare themselves to be moved.

Soxfinger might even do something drastic with Gordon Beckham.

They’re 6 1/2 games out of first now and have lost 5 straight.

Williams is going to blow it up. Soon.

Red Sox evaluation validation.

With the news that the Red Sox made an aggressive and substantial offer for Ubaldo Jimenez, his value was validated.

Whether that’s accurate or not remains to be seen and judged. The Red Sox have made mistakes in their evaluations, especially with pitchers. But the Red Sox have such industry-wide respect for intelligent analysis that the perception will mute the worries about his performance over the past calendar year. It was so with Jose Bautista when the Red Sox tried to pry him from the Blue Jays and it’s the same with Jimenez now.

THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!

Perhaps if I alter my familiar rant regarding A.J. Burnett—“THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!”—and added statistics to prove the point of “THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!” people will start to get it through their thick skulls that THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!.

Here are Burnett’s career numbers and averages.

Year W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP ERA+
1995 2 3 .400 4.28 9 8 33.2 27 16 16 2 23 0 26 2 4 7
1996 4 0 1.000 3.88 12 12 58.0 31 26 25 0 54 0 68 7 3 16
1997 3 2 .600 4.39 12 11 55.1 36 34 27 3 43 0 63 8 0 12
1998 10 4 .714 1.97 20 20 119.0 74 27 26 3 45 0 186 8 2 6
1999 6 12 .333 5.52 26 23 120.2 132 91 74 15 71 0 121 5 2 16
1999 4 2 .667 3.48 7 7 41.1 37 23 16 3 25 2 33 0 0 0 126
2000 0 0 2.19 3 3 12.1 4 3 3 0 9 0 12 0 2 2
2000 3 7 .300 4.79 13 13 82.2 80 46 44 8 44 3 57 2 0 2 92
2001 0 0 1.93 2 2 9.1 4 2 2 0 4 0 10 0 0 0
2001 11 12 .478 4.05 27 27 173.1 145 82 78 20 83 3 128 7 1 7 105
2002 12 9 .571 3.30 31 29 204.1 153 84 75 12 90 5 203 9 0 14 122
2003 0 2 .000 4.70 4 4 23.0 18 13 12 2 18 2 21 2 0 2 91
2004 0 0 4.91 2 2 7.1 9 5 4 1 4 0 10 1 0 3
2004 7 6 .538 3.68 20 19 120.0 102 50 49 9 38 0 113 4 0 7 112
2005 12 12 .500 3.44 32 32 209.0 184 97 80 12 79 1 198 7 0 12 116
2006 2 0 1.000 1.89 4 4 19.0 11 5 4 1 6 0 22 2 0 1
2006 10 8 .556 3.98 21 21 135.2 138 67 60 14 39 3 118 8 1 6 115
2007 0 0 1.80 1 1 5.0 3 1 1 0 1 0 7 0 0 0
2007 10 8 .556 3.75 25 25 165.2 131 74 69 23 66 2 176 12 0 5 119
2008 18 10 .643 4.07 35 34 221.1 211 109 100 19 86 2 231 9 2 11 104
2009 13 9 .591 4.04 33 33 207.0 193 99 93 25 97 0 195 10 1 17 114
2010 10 15 .400 5.26 33 33 186.2 204 118 109 25 78 2 145 19 0 16 82
2011 8 9 .471 4.54 23 23 142.2 129 78 72 21 63 1 123 7 0 14 93
13 Seasons 118 109 .520 4.03 304 300 1912.2 1725 940 857 193 806 26 1741 96 5 113 106
162 Game Avg. 13 12 .520 4.03 34 34 215 194 106 96 22 91 3 196 11 1 13 106
FLA (7 yrs) 49 50 .495 3.73 134 131 853.2 719 395 354 66 377 16 753 31 1 44 111
NYY (3 yrs) 31 33 .484 4.60 89 89 536.1 526 295 274 71 238 3 463 36 1 47 96
TOR (3 yrs) 38 26 .594 3.94 81 80 522.2 480 250 229 56 191 7 525 29 3 22 112
NL (7 yrs) 49 50 .495 3.73 134 131 853.2 719 395 354 66 377 16 753 31 1 44 111
AL (6 yrs) 69 59 .539 4.27 170 169 1059.0 1006 545 503 127 429 10 988 65 4 69 103
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/4/2011.

He’s consistently inconsistent. That makes him consistent.

He might pitch as he did last night again in his next start.

Or he might pitch a no-hitter.

That is A.J. Burnett.

THIS IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT!!!

Accept it and stop complaining.

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Soxfinger, Tony Tantrum And Another Casualty Of Moneyball

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Let’s do this in order.

First the White Sox traded Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for veteran righty reliever Jason Frasor and 25-year-old minor league righty Zach Stewart.

This is not a “give-up on the season” trade by White Sox GM Kenny Williams (aka the James Bond villain known as Soxfinger). He dumped Teahen’s salary and gave up a pitcher in Jackson who they had no intention of keeping. Jackson’s good, but he’s represented by Scott Boras and the White Sox payroll is already bursting at the seams. It made sense to get a veteran reliever in Frasor to bolster the White Sox leaky bullpen.

In analyzing Stewart apart from what I can see in his minor league numbers, I’ll say this: it’s unwise to bet against Williams’s pitcher-recognition skills. It was Williams who acquired both Gavin Floyd and John Danks when neither were on anyone else’s radar; yes, he made the expensive and retrospectively mistaken decision to acquire Jake Peavy, but Peavy is a former NL Cy Young Award winner—it just hasn’t worked out. You can give him a hard time for trading Daniel Hudson to get Jackson, but it’s not something to go crazy over.

Clearly Williams sees something in Stewart to inspire him to make this trade.

Teahen is another failure from the 2002 Billy Beane/Athletics “Moneyball” draft in which Beane and his staff were supposedly “counting cards” in selecting players.

No commentary needed as to how that worked out.

After that was done, the Blue Jays spun Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Corey Patterson and Octavio Dotel to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters.

Miller is supposedly going to to the White Sox.

Let’s find a rational explanation. Or two.

Once Jonny Gomes was off the market, did the Blue Jays feel they had to make a move on Rasmus? (Satirical.)

Was Joel Sherman wrong in the assertion that the Cardinals were asking for a “ton” in a Rasmus deal? (Likely.)

Did the Cardinals judge this return as a “ton”? (Possible.)

Or is it all of the above? (Hedging.)

All kidding(?) aside, this trade has Tony LaRussa‘s fingerprints all over it.

The curmudgeonly baseball manager/non-practicing lawyer that LaRussa is, he’ll deftly separate himself from the trade and deflect responsibility and evidence in all directions to save the man in the mirror.

It turns out my repeated statements that LaRussa’s doghouse was “entrance only” were mistaken; there’s an exit, but it happens to lead to another town on a questionable exchange policy.

LaRussa wanted Rasmus gone and this is another case in which the front office is appeasing the manager to try and win now.

That doesn’t make wrong the analysis that Rasmus was never going to fulfill his promise in St. Louis; nor that his “stage-father” Tony Rasmus wasn’t going to back away from interfering in his son’s career to let the Cardinals do what they wanted. It’s just the way it is.

On the surface, it’s a weak trade for the Cardinals.

Jackson’s a rental; as mentioned before, his agent is Boras and the Cardinals have got to save their money to keep Albert Pujols. Jackson’s a good pitcher and will help them.

The key for the Cardinals will be Rzepczynski. He’s spent this season in the bullpen and that may be where he is for the rest of the season with the Cardinals having traded Miller, but he’s got starter stuff and a gentle delivery that bodes well for his durability—he reminds me of Mark Mulder when he was in his prime. Had Mulder not had the hip problems, I believe his shoulder would’ve stayed in shape to continue pitching as well as he did for the Athletics early in his career and not had its premature end.

Patterson and Dotel are veterans from whom you know what to expect—such as that is.

The Blue Jays got themselves an everyday center fielder in Rasmus who won’t be saddled with the pressures he felt in St. Louis. A clean start might be exactly what he (and his dad) need to fulfill his promise.

For the White Sox, this is a move for the now and the future; for the Cardinals, it’s a move to improve immediately; and for the Blue Jays, they’re hoping to be in a legitimate position to contend in 2012—and I think they will be.

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For The White Sox, It Makes No Sense To Sell

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Circumstances have to be aligned for teams that have a veteran core and massive payroll commitments to make the decision to try and sell at mid-season.

The White Sox have that veteran core and their payroll has skyrocketed to $127 million. But they’re not in a position to clean out the house for several reasons.

Apart from Chris Sale, Gordon Beckham and John Danks the White Sox—to be blunt—are old. In addition to that wear on their tires, they’re ridiculously expensive with contracts that are almost totally immovable.

Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios are locked in with the White Sox and are going nowhere. Short of taking on another club’s prohibitive contract/headache along the lines of Barry Zito, Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Chone Figgins or Jason Bay, they’re stuck with those players.

The more marketable types like the free agents-to-be Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson would absolutely be in demand, but it makes little sense for the White Sox—5 games out of first place in a weak and winnable division—to trade them for the “future”.

If they can improve now by making a deal with one of those players, that’s a different story.

If there are going to be a wholesale set of changes, it’ll be after this season as Juan Pierre, Jackson and Buehrle all come off the books. At that point, the White Sox can start to listen to offers on Carlos Quentin and even Gavin Floyd to restock their farm system.

GM Kenny Williams has been loathe to surrender a season in the interests of the future and mid-season 2011 won’t be any different not only because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t.

A retool/rebuild is also contingent on what happens with manager Ozzie Guillen. An entirely new direction with a different core would likely include a new manager. There’s been speculation forever about Guillen’s job security and he’s still there; the Marlins are known to have interest and want a “name” manager to take over as they enter their new ballpark; Guillen is signed through next year, but Williams was willing to discuss an exchange that would let Guillen leave last winter when the Marlins came calling. After the 2011 season and the way things have come apart, perhaps he’d like to make a change once and for all.

If they were in the American or National League East, I’d say the White Sox should dispatch anyone and everyone they could. They’re not. They’re well within striking distance of first place and one hot streak from jumping right over both the Tigers and Indians.

They shouldn’t sell because it’s unwise and it wouldn’t do them any good anyway.

Stand pat or add and see what happens.

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Shielded

Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, Players

The controversies surrounding the White Sox generally center around manager Ozzie Guillen because, well, because he’s Ozzie. The roster is the creation of GM Kenny Williams and he’s been shielded from criticism to a remarkable degree.

I’m wondering why.

Is it because he’s won a World Series?

Is it because he puts forth the image (which I believe) that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him or what he does?

Is it because of Ozzie?

Why?

If you look at the series of moves he’s made in recent years, many would be accurately described as mistakes—you could refer to some as disastrous.

They don’t have legitimate big league third baseman; Adam Dunn is eventually going to hit, but he’s been an expensive (4 years, $56 million) train wreck so far with a .175 BA, .637 OPS and 7 homers; Alex Rios‘s contract was taken off waivers from the Blue Jays and he’s been terrible this season too after rebounding in 2010—his deal has a guaranteed $38 million after this season; Edwin Jackson and Jake Peavy were acquired in trades for inexpensive young arms that included Daniel Hudson and Clayton Richard—arms with whom the White Sox would be better and cheaper in place of what they got.

This isn’t an indictment of Williams. I think he’s a terrific GM and agreed with all of the moves except for Peavy. I admire his deep-strike mentality in going after what he wants regardless of perception and consequences.

That doesn’t alter the fact that the White Sox are a $128 million mediocrity with rampant infighting among the manager and the GM.

That infighting has gone on forever and doesn’t affect the club in any significant way; the White Sox main troubles have come from the combination of a lack of offense from Dunn and Rios; the struggles/injuries of Jackson and Peavy; and from failing to close games they should’ve won early in the season.

I maintain that the White Sox as the best team in the AL Central; they’ll right the ship to get back into legitimate contention, but how did Williams turn to teflon? He deserves and should receive his share of the blame while things are still going poorly.

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A Crafted Issue

Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, Players

It goes on and on with Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox and has since he started the job.

His penchant for making wild statements and splashy headlines has earned him the reputation as the epitome of the loose cannon, but he’s still there.

He’s clashed with his boss, GM Kenny Williams, but he’s still there.

He’s gotten fined, had his job threatened and done things that would’ve gotten a large chunk of baseball managers fired.

But he’s still there.

Now Guillen said he went to speak to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf about his long-term status with the club and “didn’t like what he heard”.

What that means is anyone’s guess.

Does he want an extension past 2012? Does he want to go to Florida to manage the Marlins or pursue another job? Does he want to broadcast and share his fractured and relentlessly entertaining brand of English with the viewing public?

Or perhaps he’d like to run his website full-time.

And if you check his website, read the blog postings and compare them to his unintelligible (and hilarious) tweets on Twitter, Ozzie ain’t writin’ the English version of the blog postings. In fairness, he says “here it is in English” when he tweets a new one is up, so he’s not claiming to write the English version.

But it’s still funny.

I don’t understand the saber-rattling about his job with the White Sox.

If they don’t want him, they’ll fire him or let him leave. He’s not operating on the final year of his deal. Apart from the media and Guillen continually bringing it up, why is it even an issue?

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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.

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