Manny done being Manny; White Sox react

Manny done being Manny; White Sox react

Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 6:48 p.m. Updated: 8:26 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

As the White Sox clubhouse opened on Friday, news had just broken about Manny Ramirezs retirement from baseball. Ramirez played the last month of the 2010 season, appearing in 24 games with the White Sox and posting a .739 OPS.

Major League Baseball notified Ramirez of an issue under its drug program and Ramirez opted to retire rather than face another 100-game suspension.

To me, its none of my business, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. It shows people that major league baseball is after drug users. Theyre not playing around. Theyre letting the players know how tough theyre going to be.

Despite his underperformance for the White Sox in 2010, Guillen continues to insist he was a terrific addition to the team.

Manny, as a friend, as his former manager, he was great for the game, Guillen said. Hes done a lot of great things for baseball. He was one of the best hitters to play the game. He played good for us last yearI wish he could have played better. He was great in the clubhouse. I dont have any complaints or regrets to have him with the ballclub. Everything was great for us.

Longtime teammate Omar Vizquel (1994-2000) also lamented the loss, saying, He was unreal. He was one of the most feared guys with runners in scoring position."

Vizquel also opined that Ramirez may have had an ulterior motive in his latest positive drug test.

The drug suspension is a really touchy thing these days; everybody knows about the circumstances and the way that you are penalized about, Vizquel said. I guess he realized that he couldnt play anymore and he was just trying to find a way out. And he found it.

As supportive of Ramirez as Guillen was, he endorsed swift and serious punishment for anyone who flaunts the rules.

If you get caught, you should be punished, because weve known for the last five or six years theyre after this, and any players who take drugs are taking a risk.

Ramirez ditches his one-year, 2 million contract with the Rays, having lasted five games and putting up a 1-for-17 line for his final season.

We are obviously surprised and disappointed by this news, Tampa said in a statement.

A great player retired, but I believe it is a galvanizing moment for us, Rays manager Joe Maddon tweeted before tonights game.

Ramirez played for 19 years, compiling 2,574 hits, 1,831 RBI and a .996 OPS (ninth-highest ever). His 555 home runs place him 14th all-time.

I dont see anyone better than him, maybe Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinezthere were a few out there, Guillen said. I dont know him personally, and only knew him about a month, and we never had any kind of conversation about how good his career was. But everybody knows Manny was a good player. He was pretty good before he got caught.

"When Manny came to the big leagues in a Cleveland uniform, he was an outstanding player," Guillen continued. "Its easy to kick a guy in the rear end when hes down. To me, he was a great player. Should he be in the Hall of Fame? Ive got my own opinion. Like I said, he was very good. He had a great career.

Guillen has long backed the notion that players and fans move on quickly once a drug suspension is announced, but he isnt nave enough to believe that this is the end of baseballs drug drama.

The end of drugs is what we pray forwe have a lot of fans out there, and I know the commissioner and Major League Baseball are working very hard on eliminating drugs, Guillen said. I hope it will be the last one. Will it be the last one? I doubt it. There are a lot of names out thereevery time you read the paper, somebody is out there. I'm glad I dont know any of those guysI played against them. I hope they go after those guys, make this game clean, and make this game what people what to see.

Honest Bobby

Bobby Jenks tells WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane that his former White Sox teammate is "a really good guy" but didn't mince words about Ramirez's situation.

"You do it, you get caught, youre an idiot. If you do it again youre a dumbass, said Jenks. I mean, its sad to see. One of the greatest hitters, or one of them, to make the same mistake twice, same bad choice."

Dunn Watch

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wasnt too optimistic about slugger Adam Dunn returning to action soon.

Weve got to wait five days, I have to, Guillen said before Friday nights game. Every day he feels better and better but I dont expect him to be back in five days, to be honest with you.

Dunn initially called Guillen on the day of his appendectomy (Wednesday) offering to pinch-hit, but Guillen dismissed that notion.

Hopefully, we dont have to pinch-hit Dunn, he said. I'd rather lose a game than lose a guy for another month. If I have to pinch-hit Adam Dunn with the game on the line, I'd rather lose the game rather than have him hurt himself and lose him for we don't know how long.

The Peavy Effect is also in action on Dunn, as Guillen is unwilling to rush the genial giant back into the lineup.

He's got to hit, Guillen said. He's got to show me, the doctors, trainers, Kenny. He's got to show a lot of people hes OK. He's got to show his hitting coach. When everybody says he's ready, he's in the lineup. Obviously, we want him in the lineupbut weve got to be careful.
Chilling out

With the first two home games featuring weather hovering around 40 degrees, the challenge of playing through the cold was addressed by Guillen.

I just talked to a couple of players about the cold, he said. I dont want to hear any players crying, because we because we get paid pretty good Shut up, I dont want to hear it. When you play in Chicago or the East, that's what you're going to get.

Guillen tends to work himself up at times, and discussing the weather did so today.

We get paid pretty goodplease, Guillen said. If it's too humid or too wet, I dont want anybody out there just to be there. I want all my players to play the game right. Rain or shine, we get paid to play, and we've got to go out there and do the best for the fans.
Teahens new role

Early in the season, Guillen worried about getting at-bats for just one player, Mark Teahen. And when Dunn had his appendix removed, the manager predicted that the lefthander would get the majority of Dunns vacated at-bats.

Still, Friday marked Teahens first start at DH in Dunns absence. In fact, Teahen has DHd only 12 times in his career heading into Fridays game. But he didnt sound too concerned about adjusting to playing a game without being in the game.

Its different, he said. I havent DHd a ton, but at the same time, its nothing too strange.

Teahen historically has had trouble adjusting to the role, however. Acknowledging the small sample of just 44 plate appearances, Teahen seems to lose his power stroke as a DH. His .270 average as a DH is a couple ticks above his career mark (.268), but two doubles represent all his extra-base hits at DH, thus his advanced numbers (.349 on-base, .324 slugging) pale compared against his .746 career OPS.

On a night like tonight, I just mainly try to stay warm in between at-bats, Teahen said. Come in and do a little cardio to stay warm.

The stationary bike worked wonders; on Friday, Teahen had hits in his first two at-bats, including his first home run as a DH.

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

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.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score) and David Schuster (670 The Score) joined David Kaplan on the SportsTalk Live panel for Thursday's show.

Baseball’s winter meetings are over. Could Rick Hahn have done more this week? Plus which closer will have a better season- current Cubs closer Wade Davis or former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman?

How much upheaval will there be on the Bears’ coaching staff this offseason? Plus are the Bulls in slump or are we finally seeing the real team show up?

Listen to this episode of the SportsTalk Live podcast here: