Front office talk, occasionally about baseball

Don Cooper, occasionally sounding like he’s on autotune, appeared on Boers and Bernstein, and the rumor is true — he’s not a fan of the cameras.

B&B: Coop, are we going to see you prominently displayed on that MLB reality show? Or are you trying to hide when the cameras are popping up.
Cooper: You know what? To tell you the truth, I’m not all that comfortable with it … it’s kind of like foreigners being in on our meetings and things like that… the other day, I kinda got miked up for the game, and I hadn’t done that in seven years. Seven years ago, I got miked up for a game, felt extremely uncomfortable, did not enjoy it, and for the life of me, I have no idea why I said “yes” to it the other day. And 10 minutes after I got started, I said, “What in the hell did I get myself into?” Because I could not have fun with it. I just didn’t feel like I could be myself.

The guy who heckled Cooper the other day?  He’s 80 years old, and not an MLB Network plant, according to Scott Reifert.
Meanwhile, Ozzie Guillen says he has dropped plans for a personal website because “a few guys from the front office didn’t like the idea.”  Reifert said the communications staff didn’t have any problems.  Maybe Kenny Williams did, though:

‘‘Don’t ask me another question about Twitter, websites [sic], blog, radio shows, non [sic] of that [crap],’’ Williams wrote in a text message. ‘‘All I care about is players playing, coaches coaching and managers managing. If they do that and do it well, we got no problems, but if they don’t …’’

Opening Day can’t come soon enough.
Rick Hahn, by comparison, got off easy.  He sat down for a conference call with some White Sox bloggers/site operators, and while he had to take numerous questions about unpopular/unclear decisions — Scott Linebrink’s contract, the rotating DH, Mark Teahen’s extension — at least he was talking about baseball, and not social media.
But who knows? Maybe he’s a big Mashable guy.  Some highlights…
On Linebrink: “There were some scouts in the organization who felt extremely strong about Scott’s ability to rectify some of the [declining] trends you saw.  The statistical decline was not visible to the naked eye, so from a stuff standpoint, there still is that confidence.
“There was on two different occasions two different mechanical issues that we think are behind him, and fortunately, from a stuff standpoint, it is still crisp and he is healthy.”
On the rotating DH: “If this does not work … I think you can rest assured we are going to do everything in our power to correct it.
“There’s already a list in place, the are already conversations that have taken place, as it does with any potential foible in a roster construction. There is always a contingency plan and this is no exception.”
The Cheat followed up by asking about win accounting — that the plan eschews a Jim Thome or Johnny Damon-type player for Brent Lillibridge or Jayson Nix, if there are no hidden benefits — to which Hahn described a trickle-down effect broader than a one-on-one production comparison*:

  • Carlos Quentin will get off his feet.
  • Resting Paul Konerko affects the projection of Konerko.
  • If they carry 12 pitchers, Omar Vizquel would be the only backup infielder, which would not give the Sox preferred depth.

(*He also used the phrase “20 runs over replacement” while illustrating a hypothetical, which was kinda weird to hear out of the White Sox organization.)
*Teahen “was a guy Kenny wanted strongly, and when the situation arrived to get him, we moved on it.”  Andrew from 35th Street Review asked “Why three years?”
Hahn echoed Williams’ earlier sentiments in that the Sox expect big things from Teahen, now that he’s not bouncing between positions while having to shoulder a lot of the offensive burden on a losing club.  Plus, with Teahen entering his arbitration years with a ton of experience, he would’ve been on the high side of all negotiations if he met said projections.  The extension makes it a more manageable increase in the second and third years.
*Dayan Viciedo is still going to get a shot at third, and while his switch to Scott Boras surprised the Sox, the fact that he hasn’t used up even a day of service time means any ramifications are far down the road.
Hahn expounded on the perception of the chilly relationship between Boras and the Sox, saying they merely have differences in negotiations.  Boras’ willingless to wait things out and really draw out proceedings doesn’t mesh with the Sox’s preferences to strike quickly, so their timing rarely lines up.
*Jared Mitchell isn’t going to be on the Gordon Beckham plan, though he has the potential to force the issue.
*Carlos Quentin is “a healthy player without restriction,” but they plan on getting him regular rotations in the DH spot to preserve his health.
*Health risk evaluation may be the next frontier after defense in sabermetric understanding. Right now, Herm Schneider and team doctors at Rush have methods of breaking down a player in order to project a likelihood of injury, but it’s “a far, far cry from an exact science.”
*Mark Buehrle still loves being cryptic about his health:

Asked why his bullpen session was moved from Wednesday to Thursday morning, Buehrle said, ”I was hung over [Wednesday], so we moved it back a day. There was no injury; it was just being hung over.” […] ”I’m hurt and have to take shots every start. Taking medicine, cortisone every start — Dutch Elm, I don’t know what they’re calling it now.

*Thursday’s highlights in a 5-5 tie with Cleveland:

  • Freddy Garcia allowed three runs over three innings.
  • Linebrink, J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton each threw a scoreless inning, as did Sergio Santos.
  • Ramon Castro homered in his first spring game.
  • C.J. Retherford hit a two-run shot and drew a walk while playing the whole game.
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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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I alluded to this last year after Beckhams meteoric rise to the bigs, but its going to be really really annoying for the next ten to twenty years being around sox fans who dont understand how stagging it was that beckham got to the bigs in less then a year. Jared Mitchell at his best wont be in a sox uniform for a full time job any sooner then 2012, AT BEST. And that is a perfectly normal timeline, Beckham has skewed reality and we are all going to suffer from bloggers, callers to sports radio shows, and newspaper articles who will expect 1st round picks to always be immediatley ready for the bigs. It simply doesnt work that way.


Pretty much. Seems pointless to expect/project Mitchell until Pierre is either on his way out or no longer effective. 2012 is the logical point for that.


Yeah, Beckham has definitely given some people unrealistic expectations. I think Mitchell could be mid-2011, though.
Pierre’s already no longer effective :/


I love when people justify poor hitting with “oh it’s because he was playing different positions.” I mean, really? That doesn’t change a damn thing about stepping up to the plate. Weak shit. Teahen is Teahen, no matter if he’s playing 3B/1B/OF.


Aren’t there lots of instances of players hitting better at different positions, though? Didn’t our own Frank Thomas hit significantly better at 1B than as a DH?


Frank hit better at 1B because he was younger, stronger, and hadn’t been bitten by the injury bug. Not much of a coincidence, there.
I can see the benefits as it relates to say, a position player moving to DH, or a catcher moving to another position that is less taxing. Otherwise, I can’t imagine there being a real difference. I’ma look into it, though.


I generally agree with marshlands on this one, 9 out of 10 times I think its just a stupid excuse. I would however argue that swisher playing dh, 1st, and every outfield spot, while coming to a new team and city, while also being moved everywhere in the order was a decent excuse for not having a good 08.
I think we know my feelings on Teahan, and I think its going to get ugly for him real fast. How bout jenks’s outing today maybe he should go find a mcdonalds and start gaining weight again.


Got THE book today and it is fantastic! It is so in depth and detailed with stats and research. I can not wait to have more time to really pour through it.
Seriously, if anyone is reading this, is even the smallest bit a Sox fan and is even considering buying it, YOU MUST GET IT!!!! You will be a better (and much more informed person) for having done so.
and the cartoons are laugh out load funny.


I would like to know what those scouts were looking at when they evaluated Linebrink. I can recall vividly when many were cringing at the prospect of signing him to a long term deal.
Some of Hahn’s other comments smack of the ‘we can fix him’ category, whether it’s the magic of Don Cooper’s wisdom, the friendly confines of the Cell, or the environment of being on a winning team. granted, we have had success with this in the past with Floyd and Thorton, but do we rely on this strategy too much?
Can we please, please evolve into an organization that drafts and develops better talent instead of relying on long shots like Teahan, Putz, etc?


Jared Mitchell missing the season is devastating for his development. I cant believe that just happened, I was the president of the Mitchell fan club and now he is going to be set well back.


That’s a real shame about Mitchell.
I have a question to throw out there. I’m wondering how well guys do at the end of these hefty, multi-year contracts. The minimums are 4 years and $10m a year. Looking at guys like Ordonez and Soriano, it wouldn’t seem a wise investment. But I’m really curious if that holds up around the league.