The Chicago Sun-Times dropped a flashbomb overnight, and not just that the White Sox granted the Florida Marlins the opportunity to interview Ozzie Guillen. The Marlins and Guillen had been tied for a while, and this was merely the fire beneath the smoke.
No, here’s the stunning part:
According to major-league sources, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was intent on making Guillen his next manager. Talks, sources say, progressed to the point that there was discussion of executing a trade that would send Guillen, who has a year left on his contract, to the Marlins for 20-year-old outfielder Mike Stanton, who hit 22 home runs and knocked in 59 runs in just 100 games as a rookie this season.
After Guillen met with chairman Jerry Reinsdorf late in the season and agreed to return to the Sox in 2011 — but not getting a desired extension — the Marlins talks died, sources say.
The universal emotion, here and amongst impartial parties: dumbfounded. The stunning part isn’t that a team would trade a player for a manager (the Rays traded Randy Winn to Seattle for Lou Piniella). It’s what Craig Calcaterra summed up nicely:
At least it’s the implication of the article that it was Loria who was willing to do such a deal as opposed to the White Sox merely proposing it. Which is frankly nuts. Because if you’re Kenny Williams, and Loria actually makes Stanton available even for a millisecond, you yell “done!” and then personally chauffeur Ozzie to Miami, don’t you? Because no one on the planet thinks that a manager — even an entertaining and successful one like Guillen — isn’t worth cutting loose in exchange for a 20 year-old slugger with otherworldly power, right?
It seems impossible to believe, and it doesn’t help that no other outlet can corroborate that rumor.
Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi: “Multiple Marlins sources, however, adamantly denied the Ozzie-for-Stanton talks. ‘Never happened,’ one team source said.”
Scott Merkin: “According to a high-ranking White Sox source, the Marlins called and inquired about Guillen and the White Sox demanded compensation just to talk with him, with one year still remaining on Guillen’s contract. The two teams never came to an agreement over the compensation, with Stanton not serving as any sort of talking point, so official permission was never given to the Marlins to talk to Guillen.”
Mark Gonzales: “A high-ranking White Sox official confirmed this version of events, saying the team asked the Marlins for compensation in order for them to talk to Guillen, but the clubs couldn’t agree, so Guillen never talked to Florida. The Sox official also said Stanton was never mentioned.”
Maybe De Luca has extraordinary sources, but he’s been led astray before, and this proposal is just too baffling to follow him down this path. The Marlins don’t like spending money, so it would be shocking if they traded their MLB-ready, Hulk-strong 20-year-old first baseman for anybody making more than him. It would be exponentially unbelievable if the return in the trade made more than Stanton, and he didn’t even take the field.
If De Luca is right, then Major League Baseball should just go right ahead and contract both teams. Jeffrey Loria wouldn’t deserve a franchise for proposing a Stanton-for-Guillen trade, and neither would Jerry Reinsdorf for turning it down.
Before our next offseason plan, I’d like to thank everybody who has submitted a plan. I now have enough to get through Nov. 7, so I think I’m going to cut it off there, as it’s quite possible some of the plans could become obsolete before they’re even posted.
Free agency filing will begin five days after the World Series, followed in quick succession by awards season, the owners’ meeting, arbitration-offering and contract-tendering deadlines, and the winter meetings.
That said, if you think you have a plan that will blow doors off, I’ll gladly take a look at it. I just can’t guarantee I’ll post it unless it’s truly stunning.
Carrying on, here’s Lucky No. 7, courtesy of GNix (follow him on Twitter!).
GNix’s 2011 White Sox offseason plan
1) Would you offer arbitration to:
*A.J. Pierzynski? (Type A) — Yes, as long as the overall budget won’t be affected. If we can take the risk that he accepts and his ~$6 million won’t affect our offseason flexibility, I would do it.
*Paul Konerko? (Type A) — Yes. No-brainer.
*Manny Ramirez? (Type A) — No – Too great a risk he accepts and the Sox are on the hook for $20 million.
*J.J. Putz (Type B) — Yes. Another no-brainer.
2) Would you pick up Ramon Castro’s $1.2 million option for 2011, or buy him out for $200,000?
Yes. The buyout makes it a $1 million decision, and we’re not going to find a match for his production for less than that.
CLUB CONTROL (explain if warranted)
3) One-year contract for John Danks? If not, what would you pay to extend him?
Since he doesn’t seem to want an extension, I think one year is the only way to go. $6 million seems like a likely figure.
4) Would you tender a contract to Bobby Jenks?
Nope. See ya, Bobby.
6) Would you tender a contract to Carlos Quentin?
Yes. Even though he’s disappointed the last two years, this is probably his last year as a cost-effective player for the Sox – or someone else. One year, $5 million sounds about right.
7) Would you tender a contract to Tony Pena?
Yes. Letting Bobby go = a need for live bullpen arms, even if Tony constantly teases. One year, $2.5 million sounds fine.
FREE AGENCY: WHITE SOX
8) Which of the following impending White Sox free agents would you attempt to re-sign, and at what price:
*Paul Konerko: Gotta re-sign the Cap’n. I think it’s important for the clubhouse, lineup and fans, and I’m willing to overpay a little bit. I think three years, $30 millionwill be enough since there are a host of 1B/DH types on the market.
*A.J. Pierzynski: It’s time to say goodbye to AJ. Flowers/Castro should be able to match his offensive contributions from this year, even if there’s a slight defensive drop.
*J.J. Putz: If Bubby ain’t back, Putz has gotta be. Two years, $10 million.
*Manny Ramirez: I was certainly in favor of the Manny “trade,” but it didn’t work out and I don’t think he’ll be willing to take a one-year contract for $3-5 million, so he’s gone.
*Omar Vizquel: At the risk of being the last one off the Titanic, I’ll bring him back. One year, $1.5 million.
*Andruw Jones: I think he was underappreciated this year, but I’m still not bringing him back. We can find ways to outproduce him.
*Freddy Garcia: I’m not opposed to bringing Freddy back, but I’d like to test the market for comparables before I do. So I’ll hold off on re-signing him.
*Mark Kotsay: Six years, $130 million sounds about right to me. Or a swift kick on the ass as he leaves town. It was nice knowing you, Mandruw Kojones.
FREE AGENCY: OUTSIDE HELP
9) Which positions are in the most dire need of an upgrade?
Bullpen, starting depth, outfield/designated hitter.
10) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, and at what price.
A. Bullpen – I’ve bought into Jim’s closerless idea (to an extent). Keeping in mind that relievers like to know their roles, I propose a split in the bullpen: three late-innings guys, three mid-innings guys, one mop-up man.
1. For our late-innings guys we’ve got the Bromance, Thornton and Putz, as well as Santos. I’d like to send Sale to the minors to be a starter unless it becomes abundantly clear we need him.
a. I’ll also offer minor-league contracts to Kelvim Escobar, Grant Balfour and Juan Cruz as backups, and hope to hit on a lottery ticket.
2. For our middle-innings guys, we’ve got Linebrink and Pena. Neither is all that reliable, but played situationally, they won’t kill you.
a. We’ll trade for a left-handed middle-innings guy.
3. Our 2010 D.J. Carrasco Memorial Mop-up Man is Gregory Infante, until he proves he can’t do it. Then cycle through Carlos Torres (note from Jim: This was before Torres was released), Lucas Harrell, et al. Someone will come through.
B. Starting depth – We’ll need a Sweaty Freddy type once we’ve made a trade or two, but luckily there’s plenty on the market. Brad Penny/Brandon Webb/Chris Young all have better stuff than Freddy, so I’d put out feelers to them. Someone will be had for one year, $2 million plus incentives, and if Herm Schneider and Don Cooper find that none of those guys is suitable, then I’m okay with it being Freddy again.
C. OF/DH – Carl Crawford is out of our reach, unless Kenny’s lying about his 50-cents-to-dollar conversions again. But there is a guy out there who could help on the cheap. A familiar face. One who could send rousing chants echoing through right field. That’s right, I’m talking about our old friend, O-E-O Magglio. Who among us wouldn’t love to see Ordonez out there again? Plus, he’s still a productive hitter (even if he’s not $18 million productive – sorry Los Tigres). One year and $4 million plus incentives (and a little groveling from Ozzie) should get him back home.
11) Name a couple (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox.
A. The Sox may be tightening their budgetary belts, but starting pitching is currency on the trade market, and the Sox have plenty of that. My two targets are uber-talented, slightly-disgruntled young centerfielders – Matt Kemp and Colby Rasmus. My offer is John Danks + Jordan Danks + Andre Reinzo. I think that will be enough to pry one of them away, but if it’s not I’m willing to negotiate if we get some bullpen help/prospects back. Rasmus is my preference, as he’s younger, cheaper and left-handed.
B. Trade Carlos Quentin to Tampa Bay for LHP J.P. Howell. Howell is coming off a year lost to shoulder surgery and there’s no guarantee he’ll come back the same pitcher he was. However, if anyone can help him do it, it’s Hermy and Coop. The Rays need an OF/DH, after losing Crawford to free agency, and there’s no room in my budget for Q! Thanks, Mark Teahen.
12) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and give a ballpark estimate of the total payroll.
LF – Juan Pierre – $8 mil – $3.5 mil from the Dodgers = $4.5 mil
2B – Gordon Beckham – $400 K
RF – Alex Rios – $12.5 mil
1B = Paul Konerko – $10 mil
DH – Magglio Ordonez – $4 mil
CF – Colby Rasmus – $400 K
SS – Alexei Ramirez – $1.1 mil
C – Tyler Flowers – $400 K
3B – Brent Morel – $400 K
IF – Omar Vizquel – $1.5 mil
IF/OF – Brent Lillibridge – $400 K
IF/OF – Mark Teahen – $4.75 mil
C – Ramon Castro – $1.2 mil
RHP – Jake Peavy – $16 mil
LHP – Mark Buehrle – $14 mil
RHP – Edwin Jackson – $8.75 mil
RHP – Gavin Floyd – $5 mil
RHP – Penny/Webb/Young/Garcia – $2 mil
RHP Gregory Infante – $400 K
RHP Scott Linebrink – $5.5 mil
RHP Tony Pena – $2.5 mil
LHP JP Howell – $1.2 mil
RHP JJ Putz – $5 mil
RHP Sergio Santos – $400K
LHP Matt Thornton – $3 mil
PAYROLL = $105.3 mil
I didn’t get the payroll down any, as JR and KW would like to do, but that’s going to be hard to do with the Pierre/Teahen/Linebrink contracts. You could easily get three minor leaguers to replicate their production and get into the $90 mil range. Oh well.
I think this team, provided we get a little good luck staying healthy, has the capability to compete with the Twins (who will have a depleted rotation and bullpen next year), and I’m certainly confident we’ll score more runs than the 2010 Sox, while keeping some form of Ozzie’s beloved rotating DH with the Konerko/Ordonez/Rios/Rasmus/Teahen fulcrum.
The key is again going to be the rotation. If Peavy comes back healthy we’ll have a shot, and we’ve got Sale waiting in the wings to bail us out should the 5th starter or an important bullpen piece falter. Overall, and most important to me, I think this would be a fun team to root for that hopefully wouldn’t put us through any extended periods of fan murdering.
Arizona Fall League:
- Surprise 12, Peoria 5
- Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and strikeout.
- Jared Mitchell went 0-for-3, but he drew a walk, and avoided striking out for the first time in nine games.
- Charles Leesman allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in an inning of work, striking out one.
- Henry Mabee pitched a 1-2-3 inning.