Williams 'All-In' with his Sox; Ozzie: Fire me

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Williams 'All-In' with his Sox; Ozzie: Fire me

Monday, April 25, 2011
Posted: 6:32 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

NEW YORK He had to endure a flight delay and a corresponding grilling from angry Chicago White Sox fans while waiting in the terminal, but GM Ken Williams made it to Yankee Stadium in time for the first pitchand to chat a bit with hastily-assembled media.

My flight was delayed 2 hours, so had pleasure of sitting in terminal with angry White Sox fans, Williams laughed. So I almost didnt make it. (By interviews end, Williams laughed again: Their fans questions were a lot tougher than yours. These are softballs.

It was a kind and gentle Williams who smiled through a 10-minute grilling, noting that the season is still young and that the best thing he could do for the team would be walk through the clubhouse and offer some fatherly love.

If I knew how to fix the team, it would be fixed by now, he said. All I can do is go to clubhouse and offer some hugs, support them that way. The good thing is we have talent. Weve been down the road in the past where were not playing well, and I look in the mirror and say I dont have the talent. This is a different scenario, with guys whove prove themselves in the major leagues and on championship clubs. Weve got to weather this storm and come out of it sooner rather than later.

Williams mirrored his managers earlier comments about being somewhat limited to contributing to wins.

The coaching staff is not throwing the baseball or hitting the baseball, theyre doing what theyve always done, he said. The first 10 games of the season people talked about how well our offense was performingwe were hitting off the charts. When its turned around, we have to stand up and take the heat. Hitting coach Greg Walker is used to taking the heat and hes been consistent over the years the way teams have rebounded offensively. Pitching coach Don Cooper has taken his share In professional sports, fingers will be pointed your way. None of them have gotten any dumber the last couple weeks. Theyre same guys and I have a lot of confidence all of them.

Pressure mounts with every loss because of the All-In concept thats driving the team toward a championship. Because thats also come with the highest payroll in White Sox history, strong attendance is paramount. Williams is not throwing any fans under the bus for their perceived disinterest in a last-place team.

Chicago White Sox fans, you have to earn their patronage, and we havent earned it, he said. So I dont expect people to show up in droves until we earn it. This is the third week in April with a lot of games left, and we will earn their respect and their patronage. Until then, I wouldnt expect it.
Ozzie shoulders the blame

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen played coy before Mondays series opener at Yankee Stadium, unaware that GM Ken Williams was flying into town to immediately address the status of his ballclub.

I think hes coming in town today, he said.

As to whether Williams should be concerned with the White Sox to a degree of firing a coach, Guillen had a bold answer.

If somebody has to get fired here, it has to be Ozzie Guillen, he said. It doesnt have to be Greg Walker. It doesnt have to be Don Cooper. It has to be Ozzie Guillen because Im the one who makes the lineups, Im the one who tries to get the best from my players and I dont know how to do that right now.

As for whether or not someone from his staff should be dismissed, Guillen elucidated.

Kenny is my boss, and hes our boss. If he doesnt think our coaches do their jobs, well talk, Guillen said. One thing about it, like I always say, you can teach, you can help, but you dont hit for them. Its not fair when somebodys job is on the line because the players dont produce. Thats not fair. Some guys are making 12, 15 millionGreg Walker only makes 100,000. Why should it be Greg Walkers fault? He works, hes here early. He helps, flips, early hitting, batting practiceall the information is there, videos.

My players, you can talk to anyone here, I guarantee you they will blame themselves, because if I see those guys blaming my hitting coach, theyre not going to be here too long. Be a man, face it. Were struggling because were not hitting. Were not struggling because of Greg Walker. Greg Walker was the same coach in K.C. and Cleveland when the offense was hot. Same guy. All of a sudden were not hitting because its Greg Walkers fault?

"Well talk. Theres nothing wrong with that. And we have to listen to Williams, and he has to listen to us, too. I dont think we have to blame anyone here.

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

White Sox revamp would mean fewer 'stopgaps' and 'half-measures'

White Sox revamp would mean fewer 'stopgaps' and 'half-measures'

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Seems like every hour another juicy rumor surfaces in which the White Sox are considering the unthinkable: a trade for five-time All-Star Chris Sale.

With baseball’s Winter Meetings starting on Monday, those reports have begun to arrive at a furious pace. Team A has shown interest in Sale and plans to make a push at the four-day conference. Team B doesn’t think it can meet the White Sox reported asking price. Teams C and D have made their top prospects untouchable in a potential deal for Sale.

While the White Sox won’t reveal their direction until they make their first few major moves, the tone of most reports has made it clear they’re at least entertaining a trade for Sale, who has finished in the top six in the American League Cy Young Award vote in each of his five seasons as a starting pitcher.

In the past, trading Sale has been an afterthought as the White Sox have envisioned the lanky left-hander leading them back to the postseason. But those days appear to be numbered. To understand how they’ve reached this point, where Rick Hahn isn’t just humoring his fellow general managers by picking up the phone but is actively listening on Sale, you only need to look at the White Sox roster over the past five seasons.

While the White Sox have an extremely competitive top half of the roster, one that could seemingly compete on an annual basis in the AL Central, much of the rest has been comprised of what Hahn himself referred to as “stop-gaps” and “half measures.” Since the start of the 2012 season, more than 30 players who have appeared for the White Sox made their final major league appearances on the South Side. Several others made brief stopovers but have spent the rest of their time in the minors, another country or retired. Were they to begin a rebuild and bolster the farm system, Hahn and executive vice president Kenny Williams could better position themselves to avoid the use of short-term players and quick fixes to supplement the roster for a team that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2008.

“I think we’re veering away from the standpoint of looking for stopgaps,” Hahn said last month at the GM meetings in Phoenix. “A lot of what we did in the last few years had been trying to enhance the short-term potential of the club to put ourselves in a position to win immediately. I feel the approach at this point is focusing on longer-term benefits. It doesn’t mean we won’t necessarily be in a good position in 2017. It means that our targets and whatever we’re hoping to accomplish have a little more longer term fits in nature.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Whereas they were taking a step back in 2014, the White Sox at least went into four of the last five seasons with hopes of reaching the postseason.

But those aspirations were dashed in part because of a thin farm system. Whether depleted by an international program that was dormant for five seasons, trades of prospects to fill holes or previous draft misses, the White Sox have had few internal answers to cover for injuries or underperformance. That lack of depth has led to a number of short-term signings or bargain trades in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle.

Last season, the White Sox signed Jimmy Rollins, Mat Latos and Austin Jackson in February and March in hopes of providing depth at shortstop, in the rotation and in center field. Those moves are typical of the way the club has hoped to plug holes the past few years.

Rollins and Latos were released in June while Jackson suffered a season-ending injury. Jackson is a hopeful free agent this offseason and should find a home, but Rollins didn’t find a new team after the White Sox released him and Latos made six appearances with Washington, compiling a 6.52 ERA.

From the 2015 roster, Adam LaRoche retired and Mike Olt and Hector Noesi haven’t resurfaced in the majors since departing the White Sox. Kyle Drabek appeared in one game for Arizona before he was released last July.

One-time 2014 closer Ronald Belisario played six games for Tampa Bay in 2015 and sat out last season. Moises Sierra has spent time in the minors with Kansas City and Miami. Adrian Nieto played 37 games with Miami’s Triple-A squad in 2016, Felipe Paulino and Dayan Viciedo finished the season in Japan, Maikel Cleto split the year between Mexico and Atlanta’s farm system and Frank Francisco hasn’t played since winter ball in 2015.

Michael Taylor and Matt Lindstrom retired, Jordan Danks didn’t play in 2016 and Taylor Thompson, Scott Snodgress and Charlie Leesman all played independent ball.

Jeff Keppinger hasn’t returned to the big leagues since he was released in early 2014. The same goes for Hector Gimenez, Dewayne Wise, Tyler Greene, Blake Tekotte, Ramon Troncoso, David Purcey, Brian Omogrosso and Deunte Heath from the 2013 club.

Casper Wells briefly played with Philadelphia after he was waived in 2013 while Kevin Youkilis only played 28 games that season, a year after the White Sox acquired him on the cheap from Boston. Orlando Hudson, Kosuke Fukudome, Ray Olmedo, Jose Lopez, Will Ohman, Brian Bruney and Leyson Septimo never appeared in the majors after 2012.

Starting with Hahn’s declaration in July that the White Sox were mired in mediocrity, the club has made its frustrations very clear. Whereas the Sale rumors once seemed far-fetched, they might not be this time as the White Sox look to replenish an organization short on talent past the very top portion.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve had our conversations internally with Jerry and Kenny and the coaches and our staff and our scouts where we realize putting ourselves in a better position for the long term is the more prudent path,” Hahn said.

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.