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.

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.