With the White Sox season over for all intended purposes, today has seen the first round of exchanges and posturing between Team Ken and Team Oz with the latter taking a beat down out of the gate.
The presumption has been from the owner of the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf, was that the manager job was Ozzie’s to lose and could have the job as long as he wanted it. After some reports had indicated GM Ken Williams meeting with the owner Jerry, Ken spoke with the media and indicated that If Ozzie wants to pursue other endeavors; the White Sox won’t stand in his way.
Ozzie is going into the last year of a contract with the caveat that if he wins the division in 2011, he will be given an extension into the 2012 season; the problem is that upper management is tired of cleaning up his messes and dealing with the fallout from his antics.
I appreciate and thank him as a White Sox fan for being the man on the ground that lead the 2005 team to the World Series win, however, he has one play in the book for handling a situation with the team – put the focus and pressure on him. In 2005, when the Sox couldn’t seem to buy a win in late August and September, until clinching, all of the talk was about whether he would quit and walk away from them game. The media, local and national, ate this up – how could a first place manager walk away from his team. The media was too busy asking him questions, and not the players after losing a game.
This cycle has been repeated year after year and the media gobbles it up and asks for more. He’s threatened to quit, called a deserving columnist an anti-gay slur, but this year topped everything – the Twitter Fiasco. Ozzie’s son, while an employee of the White Sox, publically criticized the organization of offseason moves, followed by @OzzieGuillen joining Twitter and insisting that he would only use it as a private person and not as the manager of the White Sox; and finally, his other son made inflammatory remarks regarding the decision making process with the team.
I’m a bit of a cynic and I believe that these comments were all ordered by Ozzie because his views on adding a reputable DH, followed by trade deadline discourse were all his doing. Ozzie is a smart man, and a lot smarter than the mainstream media gives him credit.
Like I said, I appreciate and respect him as a manager. He makes a lot of right decisions and currently is nine wins from 600 and boasts a .571 record as the manager as the White Sox.
Is he on his way out? I certainly believe so. Ideally, I would love to bring in one of my other favorite managers – Angels’ Mike Scioscia or former White Sox farm team manager and current Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Both are some of the smartest managers in the game and have been successful in post season play. With Joe Torre set to retire from the LA Dodgers helm at the end of this season, I see him as a star’s manager, after winning with Yankees and the Dodgers. Both teams had major start talent though where the White Sox are isn’t in the same payroll grade as either of those teams at those times. Joe Girardi’s contract is up at the end of this season as well, though he won with a rotation featuring CC Sabathia, a good AJ Burnett and a lineup with A-Rod, Mark Texiera, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano; so I’m not his biggest fan.
Who can follow Guillen, I don’t know the answer. LaRussa has been mentioned even though he started his career with the White Sox. All I ask for in a manager is one that can give us the best chance of winning. I don’t want another rookie manager or someone that brings a lot of off the field issues with him. This will make for an interesting off-season, to certainly say the least.