Ozzie-Kenny: A new bromance blooms

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Ozzie-Kenny: A new bromance blooms

Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
3:41 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For fans of the modern-era Chicago White Sox, run by bold and brash general manager Ken Williams and piloted by feisty, eighth-year manager Ozzie Guillen, Monday's Winter Meetings news couldn't be better.

Just a few weeks after declaring he was 'confused' by reports that the White Sox were in discussions -- to what degree is still disputed -- to trade him to the Florida Marlins, the skipper made a quick dine-and-dash visit to the Winter Meetings and reported that all is well between him and Williams.

Their longtime friendship -- Guillen tearfully broke the news to Williams that he had been traded by the White Sox when the two were teammates during spring training of 1989 -- was build on the mutual respect the two shared. Guillen famously had been hired at the 11th hour by Williams, in spite of spending a substantial portion of his interview arguing with Williams.

The foundation of their friendship was shaken last year, when Guillen's middle son, Oney (then a White Sox employee), criticized the team via Twitter, digging in even deeper after he was fired for his outbursts. The relationship unraveled from there, poisoning the season for Guillen.

"This summer, I told my wife I couldn't wait until 2010 was over; 2010 was a very, very, very, very bad year for me, personally. Last year, we were 25-5 in one stretch and I didn't enjoy one game because of the problem we had off the field. It's not fun to come to work for anybody that way."

The two team leaders spoke at the end of the season and both declared the friendship to be patched up -- by October, Guillen was openly campaigning for a vote of confidence as manager -- but the mentor later revised his thoughts, speculating the he felt the relationship was much better, but would never be the same.

"I'm not saying the relationship wasn't working, but to make it the way it was, that's what I was looking for," Guillen said. "The problems were not on the field, they were personal."

Last week, in advance of Chicago's inking of slugger Adam Dunn, Guillen asked Williams out to dinner and the two spent upwards of four hours talking out their problems. To Guillen, that alone was a massive sign of respect he was showing his boss.

"When I have dinner with someone, that means something: It means I respect you and want to hear what you are going to say," Guillen said. "I want you to hear me and what I'm going to say ... and the conversation was great."

Recounting the discussion, its results brought a palpable look of relief to Guillen's face as he spoke to team beat writers.

"Everything is moving forward. We talked about the team and what we want to do," Guillen said. "But personally, we talked like grown-up people. The relationship we had in the past, the way we talked and communicated, it had to come back. We have to grow up and move on, make sure all the hatchets are buried and we don't burn bridges. It's not healthy. It's not good for the ballclub. It's not good for anyone.

"I promise Jerry Reinsdorf and Williams, I will do my part and do the best I can to make this work ... it will work out. It can't be the same situation. No way -- no way it will be the same."

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

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."