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.

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

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Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

That Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have reunited is a nice story, but it won't dramatically change the mindset of the rebuilding White Sox, who earlier this week demonstrated they aren't messing around.

Abreu said in a statement issued by the White Sox on Friday that he's "very happy" about the prospect of again playing alongside Moncada, who played 12 games with the star slugger in 2012 for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series. Moncada, 21, is the centerpiece of a four-player package acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale on Tuesday, a toolsy infielder who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

While the concept of Abreu mentoring Moncada has plenty of merit — the first baseman's work ethic is outstanding, and he's beloved by coaches and teammates — don't think the White Sox would hesitate to trade him if someone paid the right price. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just spent four days at the Winter Meetings discussing how a team that just traded away its best pitcher and position player remains open to listening to all offers and is prepared to do what is must to get the franchise healthy again. 

"We're extremely open-minded on ways to continue the process that we started," Hahn said earlier this week, adding that the White Sox "have to make some painful decisions."

The White Sox have grown tired of never having all the pieces — or even more than a few — to fill the holes created by injury, poor performance, etc. They want to be flush with young talent and essentially have said anything that isn't nailed down at Guaranteed Rate Field is available with the exceptions of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon.

The team wants to cash in on the chips it possesses.

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While they don't have a ton, the few the White Sox have could help expedite a rebuild process as the Sale and Eaton trades have shown. Those deals brought back seven players, including three who played at the big league level last season (Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez). Some of those players potentially would start 2017 in the big leagues, and that possibility increases the internal value of Abreu and starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who is equally revered among teammates and coaches for his dedication and team-first mentality. 

Having those young players see firsthand what it takes to excel in the majors from veteran teammates is invaluable. Abreu, who arrived in the United States from Cuba in late 2013, addressed that point in his statement about Moncada, who signed with Boston in 2015.

"Moncada is a five-tool player," Abreu said. "He really has everything needed to succeed, and I know that with the proper guidance of veteran players and coaches with experience he can become an All-Star caliber player."

"He is going to make a huge impact in the White Sox organization, and both the fans and the team will be thankful.

"I already spoke with him to welcome him to the team. I told him that I'm going to be there for him for everything that he needs on and off the field."

In a conference call Wednesday, Moncada said he's "thrilled" to once again play with Abreu. Whether they will hasn't yet been determined.

When asked about Moncada's 2017 starting point earlier in the week, Hahn said the 21-year still needs to develop. Moncada appeared in eight big league games last season for Boston and struggled with contact, striking out 12 times in 20 plate appearances. But that promotion came after a meteoric rise through Boston's farm system, an aggressive path that included only 45 games played above High-A. Nothing has been announced, but it appears Moncada will receive an invite to big league camp next spring and be seated near Abreu in the clubhouse. 

Still, Hahn sounds like he intends for Moncada to spend much of 2017 refining his approach in the minors. He also has demonstrated he is willing to dig deep and make more painful moves if it betters the team in the long run, all of which means the White Sox wouldn't hesitate to trade Abreu or Quintana if they get what they want.