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Tag:Ozzie Guillen
Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 1:08 pm
 

White Sox considered Konerko for manager job

By Matt Snyder

Within the past few weeks, the White Sox let manager Ozzie Guillen go and then hired former third baseman Robin Ventura to be the new manager. We knew this. What we didn't know is who exactly general manager Kenny Williams considered for a manager before eventually deciding on Ventura. One name he considered is a shocker: First baseman Paul Konerko.

Yes, current first baseman Paul Konerko. Williams told reporters Tuesday he mulled it over and decided he'd rather Konerko just focus on playing -- also noting he never spoke to Konerko about the thought (Scott Merkin via Twitter).

White Sox coverage
The Ventura hire was very unpopular in the Chicago media, so I can't imagine the uproar this would have caused. There hasn't been a player-manager since Pete Rose did so for the Reds back from 1984-86.

Konerko, 35, is a five-time All-Star and a great baseball man. He's played in the majors since 1997 and has been with the White Sox since 1999. There's no question he eventually be an asset in the dugout for someone as a coach or manager, if he wants to take that path with his post-playing career. But there's a reason there hasn't been a player-manager for 25 years. Being a player and being a manager are two entirely different full-time jobs and giving one man both of those is just too much.

In fairness to Williams, "considering" someone and thinking seriously about hiring him are not synonymous. It's just amusing Konerko was even a consideration -- and quite the compliment to the veteran as well.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 4:55 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Chicago White Sox

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series... 

Team name: Chicago White Sox
Record: 79-83, 3rd place AL Central, 16 GB
Manager: Ozzie Guillen/Don Cooper
Best hitter: Paul Konerko -- .300/.388/.517 with 31 HR, 105 RBI
Best pitcher:Mark Buehrle -- 13-0, 3.59 ERA, 205 1/3 IP, 109 SO, 45 BB

2011 SEASON RECAP

That feeling Red Sox and Braves fans had in the last days of the season? That's what it felt like all season long on the Southside of Chicago. The White Sox spent big money to bring Adam Dunn to town and dreams of him crushing balls out of U.S. Cellular Field. Instead, he was the biggest flop since Cowboys vs. Aliens. Dunn had an emergency appendectomy early in the season, and that may have been his highlight for 2011, finishing the season hitting .159/.292/.277 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI. The disappointment in Dunn permeated the entire season, even though the White Sox were just three games back in the American League Central leading up to the trade deadline, they never looked like a serious contender. They didn't disappoint, going 11-17 over the last month of the season as manager Ozzie Guillen dropped hints about wanting out before getting his way and being sent to the Marlins for a couple of minor-leaguers.

2012 AUDIT

The White Sox already have nearly $90 million committed for 2012, so there's little chance of a quick fix. Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Dunn and Konerko alone will account for $55.5 million, more than the entire 2011 opening day payroll for the Diamondbacks, Indians, Padres, Pirates, Rays and Royals. The will be looking to get some of its younger players, like catcher Tyler Flowers and outfielders Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza.

FREE AGENTS

LHP Mark Buehrle
OF Juan Pierre
RHP Jason Frasor ($3.75 team option)
UTIL Omar Vizquel
C Ramon Castro

OFFSEASON FOCUS

  • Forget the big-name managerial candidates. There's no need to throw money at Tony La Russa or Terry Francona. Hire Rays bench coach Dave Martinez. He's learned at the hand of baseball's best manager, Joe Maddon, and he's ready for his own challenge. Martinez also knows the landscape, as part of his long big-league career, he played for both the White Sox and Cubs. Sandy Alomar Jr., another former White Sox, would be a good choice, as well. UPDATE: Former third baseman Robin Ventura has been named manager, just hours after this was originally posted.
  • Avoid the free agent market. Yes, this could be difficult for Kenny Williams, but this is not the time for the White Sox to spend big bucks on free agents.
  • Not that anyone expects anything different, the White Sox should give Buehrle a nice watch and wave him goodbye. Buehrle would like to return, but his price tag is likely too high. His time, like Guillen's, is over.
  • Juan Pierre? Gone.
  • Dangle John Danks and Gavin Floyd. While there are some attractive names on the free agent market, the pitching market isn't as as good as the available position players. Teams will be looking for pitching, and either Floyd (making $7 million in 2012 with a club options or 2013) or Danks (in his final year of arbitration). If neither bring back the kind of return the team wants, you can pull them back. Look at Toronto's trade of Shaun Marcum for Brett Lawrie as an example. The White Sox have by far the worst minor-league system in baseball, and it needs replacements.
  • Tell Chris Sale to get ready to start. Kenny Williams already told him this, but let it be known it's his spot to lose.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 3:06 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 10:28 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Florida Marlins

MarlinsBy Evan Brunell

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Florida Marlins
Record: 72-89, 29 games back in NL East
Manager: Jack McKeon (replaced Edwin Rodriguez, who resigned on June 19)
Best hitter: Mike Stanton -- .263/.357/.540, 34 HR, 87 RBI, 4.5 WAR
Best pitcher: Anibal Sanchez -- 8-9, 3.67 ERA ,3.35 xFIP, 196 1/3 IP, 64 BB, 202 K

The Marlins haven't been heard from much on the field since 2003, when they took down the Yankees to win their second World Series. Since then, the club has been in the news for their miserly spending, firing two well-regarded managers in Joe Girardi and Fredi Gonzalez and their owner's irrationality. The last few seasons, owner Jeffrey Loria has believed this team can contend, but anyone who actually looks at the club thinks otherwise. However, entering 2011, there was some hope for contention, but it all unraveled.

2011 SEASON RECAP

There's no doubting that the Marlins had a season to forget. The team's prized offseason acquisition that was supposed to give the club a formidable rotation, Javier Vazquez, stumbled to a 5.23 ERA in the first half. Meanwhile, team ace Josh Johnson continued his injury woes by only making nine starts.

And yet, the team got off to a strong start, posting a 16-9 record in April. They kept it up in May with a 15-13 record, and it looked like the Marlins might finally be players for the first time since 2009 (and before that, 2003 when they won the World Series). But Johnson's injury and Vazquez's ineffectiveness caught up with the team along with Hanley Ramirez's bizarre slow start to the year, causing the Fish to collapse in June and cost manager Edwin Rodriguez his job. Rodriguez resigned in the midst of an 11-game losing streak, which Jack McKeon snapped the second game after taking over. The team rebounded in July with a 17-10 mark, but collapsed yet again in August with a 7-20 mark once Hanley Ramirez hit the shelf for the remainder of the year, and it was over. At that point, the Marlins became known more for off-the-field headlines than on, demoting top prospect Logan Morrison to the minors in a thinly-veiled attempt to curtail Morrison's tweeting (@LoMoMarlins) and other off-the-field issues.

2012 AUDIT

The Marlins head into the offseason with heavy expectations on hand and a bit of a front-office restructuring, with Loria and team president David Samson taking on more of a role in baseball operations since the Marlins' moves the last few seasons haven't quite panned out under president Larry Beinfest and GM Michael Hill. Even if Beinfest leaves after being marginalized, it will be business as usual in Florida as the team is going through a facelift, finally abandoning the horrid Sun Life Stadium in favor of their own baseball-only park. In addition, the team is undergoing a name change to the Miami Marlins and has a new (not well-received) logo to boot. The Fish are taking this chance seriously to win over new fans and start a new beginning, hoping that baseball will finally start being viable in the Sunshine State. They're even willing to approach $100 million in payroll, reports say, which is a stark divergence from their penny-pinching ways.

On Wednesday, the last day of the 2011 regular season, the Marlins began their offseason by hiring Ozzie Guillen to manage and handing him a lucrative $10-million deal to manage Miami over the next four seasons. This hiring adds credibility to the team, both for being able to get a well-respected manager with a World Series ring (2005) and showing that the team will open their checks. However, they still have a difficult avenue ahead of them, with the powerhouse Phillies, elite Braves and emerging Nationals. If MIami has any hope of competing, they need to be serious about acquiring assets in the offseason to build out the rotation and add more bats to a team seriously deficient in offense.

FREE AGENTS

Jose Lopez, 2B
Javier Vazquez, SP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The Marlins, ever since they showed just how serious they were in being players on the free-agent market, have been linked to the three top targets -- Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson. However, Pujols and Fielder both play first base and the club already has Gaby Sanchez at that position. While Sanchez is far from quality enough to block Pujols and Fielder, Logan Morrison is also a first baseman masquerading as a left fielder, so it's hard to envision the Marlins grabbing a first-baseman. Not to mention, even with the Marlins reportedly serious about laying out as much as $60 million in free agency, it's still a tremendous risk for the Marlins to get locked in a long-term contract.

For Miami to take the next step, and yet keep their team viable for long-term success, they should look to do the following...
  • Sign Aramis Ramirez to play third base. The Marlins really need to boost their offense, and Ramirez is a logical fit, even before Ozzie Guillen headed to Florida. Ramirez said the Marlins were an attractive team with Guillen, but warm weather and proximity to Ramirez's home of the Dominican Republic is also important. The Marlins are willing to throw money around, but Ramirez would be a better fit than Pujols or Fielder, filling a position of need while coming at a short-term cost, at least compared to Fielder and Pujols. In addition, Ramirez wouldn't break the bank, allowing the Marlins to...
  • Sign Hisashi Iwakuma. The Japanese pitcher was posted last season, but couldn't come to an agreement with the Athletics. Now a free agent, Iwakuma is free to sign with any baseball team. It's difficult to envision the Marlins signing C.J. Wilson, but Iwakuma makes much more sense. At a lower cost, the Marlins can get a viable starting pitcher to plug into the rotation. The failure of Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a lot of teams skittish on Iwakuma, opening the door for the Marlins to sign the lefty. The club also needs to convince Javier Vazquez to come back for another year, giving the club a rotation of Johnson, Sanchez, Vazquez and Iwakuma to start.
  • Additionally, the club could use a closer. Even if Leo Nunez -- er, Juan Carlos Oviedo -- comes back, the team could use an upgrade. There's a ton of closers hitting the free-agent market, and Huston Street will be available from Colorado. Given the team will already have made two commitments in Ramirez and Iwakuma, the better move would be to go after Street, with just $7 million left on his deal running through 2012. But Street isn't a sexy name, and the Marlins will want to make headlines. Ramirez and Iwakuma aren't splashes, but signing Francisco Rodriguez? That's a splash, but it might cost the Marlins a first round pick. Brad Lidge and Jonathan Broxton wouldn't require first-rounders, but are risks. Jonathan Papelbon would be a better target than Rodriguez, unless Milwaukee declines arbitration on K-Rod, which is entirely possible.
  • The Marlins need to show patience with their internal candidates. Logan Morrison hasn't been a force right away as some hoped, but the talent is there for him to break out. Similarly, Chris Coghlan had a lost season to ineffectiveness and injury, but is won the Rookie of the Year award in 2009 for a reason.
These moves all minimize Miami losing draft picks, don't lock the team into any long-term commitments they may become unable to sustain, address clear deficiencies on their team and would put them in position to contend.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: September 28, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Marlins introduce Ozzie Guillen as manager



By Evan Brunell
and C. Trent Rosecrans

The Marlins announced Ozzie Guillen as their new manager on Wednesday, signing him to a four-year deal worth $10 million, as MLB.com reports.

"We're very excited," Guillen said at a stadium news conference Wednesday. "It's a big, big step in my career, a new chapter. Hopefully I can bring energy, flavor and enthusiasm, but the most important thing is a winning team."

The White Sox released Guillen from his contract on Monday and on Tuesday it was revealed that the Marlins would send two prospects -- infielder Ozzie Martinez and right-hander Jhan Marinez -- to Chicago in exchange for Guillen's rights.

Guillen served as the Marlins' third-base coach in 2002 and 2003 before being named the White Sox skipper for the 2004 season. He led his team to the World Series in 2005. In eight years as Chicago's manager, he went 678-617. Now, he'll be piloting the Marlins during a sea change -- the team is changing its name from Florida to Miami, creating a new logo and moving into a brand-new stadium. In addition, the historically thrifty club is expected to jack payroll up to take advantage of the new stadium and increased fan interest to try to make baseball viable in Miami after years of empty crowds.

"I'm very excited about the new park," Guillen said. "It's pretty nice - wow. I hope the fans will be excited about the new era for the Marlins. They should be excited. I want the fans to go there and say, `This is a beautiful ballpark, but let's watch the guys play.'"

Prior to the news conference,  Guillen tweeted:

 

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 2:57 pm
 

White Sox fire interim manager before first game

Cora, Guillen

By Evan Brunell

Even though Ozzie Guillen is gone, the drama continues in Chicago. Interim manager Joey Cora, who is considered a strong candidate to manage somewhere one day, was fired by text message before managing his first game for the White Sox, the Chicago Sun-Times writes.

GM Kenny Williams replaced Cora (pictured, left, with Guillen) with pitching coach Don Cooper, texting Cora and telling him not to bother coming to the park. That's quite an odd development. There hasn't been any news as to the reasoning, but it appears as if the firing was related to Guillen, who managed his final game with the White Sox Monday night and is headed to Florida to manage. Cora is expected to join Guillen in Florida, so it's possible Williams didn't want anyone managing his team for them to leave after the year and follow the just-fired manager. You can understand that rationale.

Cora was the bench coach under Guillen in Chicago, while Don Cooper was in his ninth season as pitching coach. Cooper is expected to interview for the full-time managerial opening. Given the success of Bud Black in San Diego and now John Farrell in Toronto, it's possible Cooper could get the job after decades of pitching coaches never really being considered for the opening. However, the White Sox could also lure back ex-manager Tony La Russa or go in a different direction. No matter what happens, Cooper's job as a pitching coach is safe -- whether in Chicago or elsewhere -- as he's one of the best at his profession.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:43 am
 

Pepper: McKeon praises Ozzie; Moneyball ripped



By Evan Brunell

Ozzie: The dominant story Monday night and today is obviously Ozzie Guillen, who was released from his contract after Monday night's game.

It looks as if Guillen is headed to the Marlins to become their skipper, and that's just fine with outgoing manager Jack McKeon, who plans to retire (again) from managing. Guillen served under McKeon back in 2003, so the octogenarian has familiarity with the former White Sox infielder.

"I like Ozzie," McKeon told MLB.com. "I think he's a very, very intelligent manager. I think he was a very smart player. I think he'll do well. He's done well. I think he's a good man. I like him. He's a good baseball man."

McKeon continued, praising Guillen's ability to interact with players.

"I liked the way he was able to control the players, especially the Latin players," McKeon said. "He wasn't afraid to jump on them and encourage them, but also try to help him. He wasn't worried about being their friend. He'd tell it like it is. And that's Ozzie. That's what reminds me of another guy [Jack McKeon]. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

In a separate story, the Chicago Tribune wonders whether Guillen moving to the Marlins could open up a Carlos Zambrano deal to Florida. Zambrano and Guillen are close friends, and the Marlins are looking to jack up payroll and raise fan interest heading into a new stadium and a new identity. It's certainly feasible -- the Marlins will have money to spend and a desire to upgrade the pitching.

Ripping Moneyball:
Honestly, I'd rather not even waste time giving Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone publicity for this, but here goes: the two White Sox announcers ripped Moneyball despite not having read the book or seen the movie to CSNChicago.com. Credibility: out the window.

Hey, it's totally OK to rip things you disagree with. But to rip something with zero knowledge is ludicrous. (And no, being familiar with the "concept" of it or hearsay does not count.) Billy Beane isn't a perfect GM and he's made his share of mistakes, but that doesn't nullify the basic idea of Moneyball, which continues to be sadly unnoticed these days instead of the popular narrative of "Moneyball is about poor teams who love statistics and OBP and hate everything else!" Why are we still doing this in this day and age?

Oh, and according to Harrelson, playing like a kid is way better than putting up good statistics.

"You take Mark Buehrle, he has never lost his childlike qualities. That’s one reason he can go out there and throw an 86 miles-per-hour fastball and still compete and win."

Uh-huh. Or maybe Buerhle is really good at commanding the ball and inducing weak contact.

Nahhh.

Ted Williams movie? Could a movie be made about Ted Williams? Given the wealth of content of the Hall of Famer's life, a movie about Williams would be entertaining. John Underwood, who was a friend of Williams and wrote for years at Sports Illustrated, is developing a treatment he hopes can turn into something. With the success of Moneyball at the box office and Broadway wrapping up a play about Vince Lombardi, the time might be right. (Washington Times)

No charges: Juan Carlos Oviedo, a.k.a. Leo Nunez, will not face charges in the Dominican Republic for falsifying his identity. Given Oviedo came forward with the admission and cooperated with officials, he is getting a free pass. Only time will tell, though, if MLB will allow Oviedo back for 2012. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Moved
: Phil Hughes admits he isn't pleased with pitching out of the bullpen for the Yankees. The righty has struggled through a difficult year for the Yankees, with a recent back issue prompting the move to the 'pen. Even if Hughes would understandably prefer to start and although it depletes the Yanks' thin rotation, Hughes has a chance to make a major impact in the bullpen in October. In 2009, he was a lockdown reliever setting up Mariano Rivera. (MLB.com)

Signed: Omar Infante has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Marlins, worth $8 million. In his first year with the Marlins after coming over from Atlanta in the Dan Uggla deal, he hit .279/.317/.385 in 574 plate appearances. (MLB.com)

Returning: The Reds want to bring closer Francisco Cordero back, and he's pleased to hear that. There is a $12 million option on the closer's remaining deal, and it's not clear whether or not Cincy will pick the option up. A return for Cordero isn't surprising following a solid season in which he notched 35 saves. (MLB.com)

Back to Washington: If Jonny Gomes has his way, he'll be back with the Nationals after coming over from Cincinnati in a trade. Gomes hasn't quite impressed, but could be a strong bat off the bench for Washington next season. Gomes for his part says he would probably accept arbitration if the Nats offered it and believes the team will be "friggin' good." (Washington Post)

Where's Coco?
Coco Crisp wouldn't mind returning to the Athletics, but Oakland's free-agent machinations will depend on the outcome of the A's prospects of building a new stadium in San Jose. The A's will have competition if they want to bring Crisp back -- two sources say that San Francisco is expected to make a run at Crisp. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Looking ahead: Joe Mauer can't wait to put 2011 behind him, as the year represented a disappointment for both the club and Mauer, struggling with injuries and poor play. "You always want to do well when you put the uniform on," Mauer told MLB.com. "For me, my biggest goal is just to come back and be healthy. It's been a frustrating year. I haven't been healthy. Hopefully, we can do that as a whole. I'm talking about myself, but this whole room, we've kind of got the same thing going [with injuries]. My No. 1 goal is to just get healthy and just get ready for next year."

Lost season: Peter Moylan, a reliever for the Braves, missed months with a back injury. Finally back, Moylan got lousy news once more as he'll need surgery for a torn rotator cuff and labrum, which will be his third major surgery in four years. Moylan will miss about six months worth of time, so may not be ready for Opening Day. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: September 27, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Report: Guillen to Marlins for two players

Guillen

By Evan Brunell

Ozzie Guillen is expected to become the Marlins' new manager in exchange for infielder Osvaldo Martinez (MLB.com) and minor-leaguer Jahn Marinez (Chicago Tribune). To that end, Guillen tweeted Tuesday afternoon that it was "Weird to be in miami in this time but very happy ready to go."

Guillen Leaves White Sox
Guillen was let out of his contract after Monday night's game, capping an end to a tumultuous career as White Sox skipper. Winning the World Series in 2005, Chicago collapsed in 2011 amid high expectations. Guillen's relationship with GM Kenny Williams was by all accounts poisonous, leading to the parting. While Guillen was technically let out of his contract and free to negotiate with any team, the club had arranged a deal with the Marlins should Florida elect to make Guillen its new skipper, which is now clear will come to pass.

It's likely that Guillen will be introduced to the media after Wednesday's season finale for the Marlins, providing a bolt of news for a team that goes into a pivotal offseason with a new stadium, a name change (Florida to Miami) and new logos and uniforms. Guillen himself posted an article Monday night about becoming the Marlins' new manager before it was taken down, the Associated Press reported.

"The post quoted Guillen as saying he was thrilled to join the Marlins and couldn't wait to get started," the AP wrote. "The post went up Monday night, then was removed a short time later and replaced by a blog that discussed Guillen's departure from the Chicago White Sox while making no mention of the Marlins."

Only last year, it was rumored that Chicago wanted left fielder Logan Morrison in exchange for Guillen when the Marlins inquired as to the skipper's availability. That was a steep price to pay and its no wonder Florida passed, but the price dropped significantly once Guillen's future in Chicago was settled. Martinez, 23, is a solid defender but struggles with the bat. He's amassed a handful of at-bats each of the last two years, totaling 71 plate appearances with a .258/.300/.348 line. In Triple-A, he hit just .245/.296/.322 in 371 PA. Martinez figures to serve as a defensive replacement off the bench for the White Sox and could replace Omar Vizquel if the ageless infielder moves on.

Marinez had a 3.57 ERA for Double-A this season, striking out 11.5 per nine innings in 58 innings while also walking 6.5. If he can tighten up his command, he has the power potential to eventually become a top setup man or closer.

It's not yet known who the minor-leaguer is and that will truly determine the value of this deal. But already, both Florida and Chicago have won. The White Sox end the constant soap opera, while the Marlins finally get their man to lead the team into what they hope is a new beginning.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 26, 2011 11:47 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 12:09 am
 

Ozzie Guillen's greatest hits

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sometimes it seems like YouTube was made for Ozzie Guillen -- the always entertaining former manager of the White Sox has had plenty to say in news conferences, commercials and even if there's just a camera around. 

You can say a lot about Guillen, but he's never boring.

Of course, sometimes the mix of his accent and his favorite English words make it tough to understand exactly what his point may be, like in this clip:

But more often than not, he gets his message across loud and clear, such as his feelings about controversial umpire Joe West:

Or what happens when you have a bad bullpen?

And there's no question Guillen won't answer, or anyone too big to take on. Here he calls actor Sean Penn a "loser" for his comments about Guillen's native Venezuela and president Hugo Chavez:

Some cynics will tell you managers don't sell tickets -- well, take notice Florida Miami, Ozzie even sells tickets:

Of course, Guillen doesn't just deliver the hits, occassionally he'll take them:

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com