BBQ: The truth about Kenny vs. Ozzie rumors

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BBQ: The truth about Kenny vs. Ozzie rumors

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
9:19 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

With rumors, whispers, and team sources ever swirling through the offseason, turn to the BBQ to provide a bit of a reality check. First up, the rumor that Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams was on the verge of trading manager Ozzie Guillen to the Florida Marlins.

As tweeted last week, it didnt take long for sportswriters to get bored this Chicago White Sox offseason, what with the doozy of an exclusive that put forth the proposition, straightfaced, that Williams during the 2010 season was on the verge of shipping Guillen to the Florida Marlins for 20-year-old batting brute Mike Stanton (.833 OPS and 22 dingers in just 100 games in 2010). This episode of Writers Gone Wild captivated the world of baseball for about a day, in addition to providing twitterpating White Sox conspiracy theorist Oney Guillen a new round of I Told You So's.

OK, so this rumor was outright dumb?
Yes.

Dumber for the White Sox or the Marlins?
Hard to say. Williams main response: I thought this was over with. But the Marlins, not wanting to appear like the absolute idiots this supposed swap paints them as, issued vociferous denials as well.

Did anything revealing come of the rumor or denials?

One interesting nugget came from comments Williams made to MLB.com, that the report isnt completely accurate. So Williams, in the midst of utter frustration over the stoked and restoked rumors that he hates Ozzie and his manager wishes to poison him in his sleep, did acknowledge some truth in the manager-for-slugger swap.
What part is accurate?

Lets apply some basic powers of deduction to the rumor. Williams surely wasnt on the verge of trading his manager for Floridas Baby Bambino. But the GM is just clever enough to listen to any offer, to push the envelope a step farther than anyone expects. He probably also realized that Marlins owner and apparent Guillen confidante Jeffrey Loria is prone to bouts of loco. So Florida did probably float a trial balloon up north, even to the point of asking for official permission to talk with Guillen.

My guess is that Williams, brash as ever (and, oh, incidentally, because he does love Ozzie and believes hes the best fit for the White Sox), said, well, talking to Ozzie costs you Stanton. Or, at his most generous, Williams wanted a guarantee hed get the slugger if Ozzie surprised the GM by asking out of Chicago. And thats where the discussion ended.

So, if Florida had agreed to swap Stanton, were talking about new White Sox manager Joey Cora?

Not so fast. Had the Marlins agreed to send Stanton north in exchange for an Ozzie chat, Williams likely would have had a frank talk with Ozzie himself -- the same one the two men ended up having at seasons end, anyway. Basically, Williams would have asked: Ozzie, do you want to be in Chicago? That way, if Ozzie had contradicted everything hed ever said about the White Sox being the only place he ever wanted to manage and told Williams, hey, yeah, I want to shift to the Marlins, at least the GM had his rear-end covered.

If this is all smoke and mirrors, why did the White Sox grant Florida permission to speak with Ozzie?

So says Ozzie, at least. Guillen apparently confirmed that the Marlins had been granted permission to speak to him about being their next manager, but the two parties never spoke. Besides, its doubtful -- and bad business -- to grant another team the chance to negotiate with arguably Chicagos most important asset for free. Hence, the genesis of the Guillen-for-Stanton rumor.

Yeah, wait a minute, Ozzies moving out of Florida, right?

Dousing the flames indeed is the fact that Ozzie put his Miami home up for sale during the season, expressing his desire for the first time to spend his entire offseason (aside from days spent in Venezuela) in Chicag -- its where both he and his two oldest sons have put down roots.

What was all that stuff at the end of the season about Guillen managing elsewhere?
Call it a public-relations mishap. Guillen was not above a bit of late-season media posturing, going so far as to acknowledge hed even talk to the crosstown Cubs about managing if it came down to it. But Ozzie did paint himself in a corner with generalities about where he stood with the team -- when I asked specifically what he wanted to hear from the White Sox about his status, he could only crack a joke about a lifetime contract. Its fair to assume that Ozzie and Ken let their relationship lapse -- in fact it came as a surprise that at first hint of Guillens insecurity, Williams didnt immediately patch it both privately and publicly.

So Ozzie is happy with the White Sox?

He always has been. This is a man whos done nothing short of continuously proclaiming himself the consummate White Sox, with black and white pinstripes tattooed down his torso. The weight of Chico Carrasquel and Lou Aparicio expectations has been on his shoulders for 25 years and counting.

What was Williams take on all of this?

Expletives aside, not much. The GM would sooner cancel his NFL Season Ticket than address myriad Ozzie rumors further. But one day, well sit a spell and chat over this tumultuous time in the Ken-Ozzie partnerships history, and boy is the truth going to be bland. Williams (hopeful) final text on the matter was concise: Ozzie is the manager of the White Sox next year and I hope the next 10 years after. How many times do I have to bleeping say it?

So all is well?

All is well, White Sox fans. Rest easy. Ozzies not going anywhere.
BBQ Verdict: Overdone

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox start series at Twins tonight on CSN

 

The White Sox take on the Twins on Friday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (8-8, 2.97 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.40 ERA)

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Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Back with White Sox, Chris Sale ready to move on from 'fiasco'

Even though he felt isolated and experienced a five-day stretch he called “a fiasco,” Chris Sale was right where he wants to be Thursday, surrounded by White Sox teammates.

Shortly after a 3-1 loss to the Cubs, the pitcher echoed the sentiments of White Sox management in a 10-minute media session when he suggested he’d like to move on from a five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property.

With the trade deadline only four days away, Sale wants to stay with the White Sox and hopes the current roster gets an opportunity to win. He also thought an incident in which he destroyed promotional throwback jerseys had been blown out of proportion.

While he didn’t apologize for his actions, the left-hander said he regretted letting down his teammates and fans who attended Saturday’s game. Sale, whose record fell to 14-4 after he allowed two runs in six innings, said he plans to address White Sox players and coaches soon and intends to let them know his level of appreciation.

“I want to let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at,” Sale said. “And let them know how much I appreciate them.

“I felt like I was out on an island, really. 7 o’clock rolls around and I usually know what’s going on. Sitting at the house sucks.

“I regret not being there for my guys. I’m a pitcher. I’m called upon every fifth day and when I can’t go out there for my guys and the fans, it gets to me.”

Similar to March when he pitched a day after ripping executive vice president Kenny Williams, Sale said his focus is back on the field. He declined to answer what he didn’t like about the throwback jerseys, calling it “counterproductive.” Even though the White Sox are on the outside looking in, Sale is hopeful he and his teammates can rally and make a strong postseason push over the final 60 games.

“I think everyone is making just a little bit bigger deal of this then it really is,” Sale said. “We are here to win games and from this point forward, I think that’s our main focus. We are going to come in every day and do our jobs and try to win ballgames, that’s at the forefront.

“I don’t like people filling in for me. I love what I do. I love pitching. I love competing. I love the guys that I’m surrounded by.”

“When I let them down, it hurts me more than it hurts them.”

Three days after he suggested manager Robin Ventura didn’t properly support him, Sale declined to discuss their future relationship and again diverted the conversation back to the field. When asked what was the biggest lesson he took from the ordeal, Sale said he wasn’t quite sure.

“I know you guys are trying to get in there and you guys have to write stories and stuff,” Sale said. “I understand. But they said their side. I said my side. I’m ready to talk about baseball and playing baseball and getting back to winning and getting the Chicago White Sox into the postseason. That’s my goal. That’s my focus. Anything else, that’s for you guys.”

While he admits that his competitive side may have fed into Saturday’s events, he also knows abandoning it would hurt him on the field. Sale said he was inundated by texts and calls from teammates past and present during his absence. That only strengthened his desire to win with the current group, Sale said.

“There’s no doubt my emotions have got me to this point,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the same person without them but stuff happens. Move on. We have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’ll just push forward.

“I’m here to win. I love exactly where I’m at. I have an unbelievable group of guys in that clubhouse. We’re pulling for each other, they are pulling for me and vice versa, through and through. I’d like to stay with this group of guys and make a push for the playoffs because I love those guys.”

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

White Sox find normalcy in Chris Sale's return from suspension

The word of the day Thursday around the cramped confines of the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field was normal, as in getting things back to it with ace left-hander Chris Sale taking the mound after serving a five-game suspension for “insubordination and destruction of team property.”

A completely abnormal story — Sale cut up the 1976 throwback uniforms he didn’t want to wear last Saturday and was sent home for his actions — gave way to a relatively routine evening. Sale allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts over six innings, though the White Sox lineup was shut down by John Lackey and the Cubs’ new three-headed bullpen monster in a 3-1 Crosstown loss.

“Things were pretty normal,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys got here, not a different clubhouse or anything like that. I think everything went fairly normal as far as him going out there and pitching and it was about baseball.”

First baseman Jose Abreu said things felt like an ordinary Sale start, even though the American League’s All-Star starting pitcher hadn’t pitched since July 18. He didn’t have his best stuff and wasn’t his sharpest, either — those three walks were his highest total in over two months — as he wasn’t able to consistently paint the corners with his explosive arsenal of pitches.

But, as usual, Sale worked quickly and kept his team in the game against one of baseball’s best offenses.

“He pitched a very good game,” Abreu said through a translator.

The Cuban first baseman added: “I think that we already moved on.”

Catcher Dioner Navarro agreed.

“He gave us a great outing, we just weren’t able to score any runs for him,” Navarro said.

Before the game, third baseman Todd Frazier said he and his teammates rallied around Sale and hoped a solid outing from the 27-year-old left-hander would put the bizarre incident squarely in the rearview mirror. 

“Some mistakes are bigger than others but you gotta understand that we’re all not perfect,” Frazier said. “Things do happen in this game, different things that you think (you’ve) never seen before, and then it happens. It’s just one of those things, hopefully it goes away quick with the way he pitches."

Sale said he didn’t discuss the incident or his suspension with his teammates before the game to keep things as normal as possible. After he showed up a little after 4:40 p.m., he received hugs and handshakes from teammates welcoming him back following his five-day exile.

But after that, Navarro said things were business as usual. He and Sale went through the gameplan and got ready to face the Cubs' powerful lineup instead of dwelling on what happened last Saturday. Eventually, Sale will talk to his coaches and teammates on a personal level to “let them know where my head is at, where my heart is at, and let them know how much I appreciate them.”

With the White Sox playoff hopes flickering as the trade deadline approaches, though, Sale’s teammates are eager to keep the focus on trying to dig themselves out of a substantial, two-games-under-.500 hole.

“Everything’s in the past,” Navarro said. “He did a great job. Quality start, nothing else you can ask.”