Contract talks lead to contradiction for Guillen

In 2007, Ozzie Guillen repeatedly said that he wouldn't make any public demands for a contract extension he ultimately received. This time - not so much...

With a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday night, Ozzie Guillen locked in his fifth winning season out of his seven as White Sox manager.
He’s still trying to figure out whether or not that’s good enough to get him the contract extension he hasn’t officially asked for (but is asking for), and now he’s openly answering questions about interest in the Cubs’ managerial opening.
It isn’t exactly his idea. It’s one I’ve heard before, mainly along the lines of the “Trade Peavy for Zambrano” rumors that spring from a desire for a quick talker and/or a lack of knowledge about the rest of the league, and Dan McNeil was the most recent to mention it.
And from what I can gather, reporters introduced the topic, and Guillen’s only responding to it. But I have a feeling these questions are quite welcome for Guillen, and so I have some questions of my own.
No. 1: Is he merely answering questions, or is this a ploy for support?
Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf appear to be a united front with the view that Guillen has a year left on his contract with a vesting option, and that’s what they expect from him right now.
Guillen needs somebody else on his side, and keeping the Cubs on the radar might increase public pressure to keep Guillen in the fold.
If Guillen goes to Florida, the move won’t have a long tail. You’ll see his name in headlines once in a while, but the team is largely anonymous thanks to Jeffrey Loria. I don’t think that fires people up — “Oh no, he’s going to go to an irrelevant team the Sox rarely see!”
But if he goes to the Cubs, he’s a headline every week, and a headache for the Sox just as often. Or maybe just for bloggers who are bored with Sox-Cubs pissing contests and would rather have the two sides tend to their own business.
It’s Guillen’s only real shot at an uprising, at any rate.
No. 2: Would the Cubs even want him?
It’s hard to gauge ownership that hasn’t held the team for less than a year, so the official answer is “Who knows?”
There are reasons why they should think about it. There’s the World Series ring, the fondness for National League-style baseball, his close relationship with Carlos Zambrano that could theoretically help attempt to salvage that contract.
But then are things like this:

After Cubs manager Lou Piniella pointed out the spike in attendance from 22,000 when the Dodgers faced the White Sox  last week to a full house when the Cubs visited U.S. Cellular Field this weekend, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was asked why attendance was so low for the Dodgers series.
“Because our fans are not stupid like Cubs fans,” Guillen said. “They know we’re [expletive].”
Guillen said Cubs fans will watch any game at Wrigley Field because “Wrigley Field is just a bar.”

Guillen has been respectful to the Cubs organization (especially Lou Piniella), but he has taken pleasure in trashing the Wrigley scene for years, and Cubs fans haven’t taken kindly to it, understandably. A whole lot of words would have to be eaten, which is why this concept feels like a leverage ploy more than anything else.
Speaking of eating his own words…
No. 3: Can his players take him seriously?
Let me pull out some quotes from 2007, when a few key players — Mark Buehrle, Jermaine Dye, Tadahito Iguchi — had their futures up in the air, and Guillen was two years away from his contract expiring.
When the season started, Guillen didn’t want any public negotiations taking place. From an April 1, 2007 story:

”The only thing I hope and wish, and I will appreciate, is we don’t have contract  talks during the season,” Guillen said. ”When we were here the last four years with the team, we haven’t heard anything.
”If you want to talk about your contract , I hope they keep it quiet, keep it between them and the front office. Obviously, every day the questions are going to come out. They have to deal with that.
”In the meanwhile, I want them to concentrate on what they have to do for us during the season, and the contract will take care of itself, with us or with someone else.”

That wall broke down when the team couldn’t get out of May with a pulse and Mark Buehrle’s impending free agency became a possible PR crisis, but Guillen did a good job of maintaining the line himself:
Here’s a fun quote from a June 23, 2007, Chicago Sun-Times story:

”They come to me and ask me, even if they say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go a different way, talk about someone else.’ Or if they say, ‘Let’s do something and talk about your contract ,’ that’s up to Jerry and Kenny and what’s on their minds.”
”I’m not going to ask for it,” Guillen said. ”I’m never going to ask. If someone is interested to do it, I’m more than willing to do it, more than happy to talk about it, but I never will say, ‘Hey, you know what? What’s my position here? What are we going to do?’ I’m not that type of person. […] “If Jerry thinks I can do this for a long time, and I don’t mean right now, but if Jerry has confidence in me and Kenny has confidence in me, we don’t need to show people by all of a sudden giving me a contract,” Guillen said. ”I’m not going to be manager for 100 years, but I wish I could manage for the next 20 years.

Guillen was eventually rewarded with a five-year contract extension in September, which was met with mixed reviews, since the Sox were on the way to a 90-loss campaign.
The situation is different this time around. In fact, it’s a polar opposite — Guillen’s coming off a solid season, but he and Williams aren’t on the same page, and there are quite a few vacancies around the league. It’s a situation that’s conducive to taking negotiations public, and as somebody who wants money and security now, it’s probably as good a time as any to start wondering aloud — emphasis on “loud.”
Problem is, Guillen is always “loud,” so it’s a lot easier to see his doubletalk. Guillen wasn’t the type of person who would put his own interest ahead of the team … y’know, until it actually might pay off for him to do so.
And it’s his right. It’s business. We all should be so lucky to have lots of lucrative backup plans that would allow us to take risks asking for raises.
But allow me to wonder aloud about a hypothetical situation taking place next year, when John Danks once again accepts a one-year contract instead of agreeing to a longer-term deal.  The media asks him about his future, and he says that there might be teams that want him more than the White Sox do.
Guillen probably wouldn’t be happy to hear one of his players openly questioning how much confidence the Sox have in him from a financial perspective. But could Guillen say anything about it, given his choice to start asking about something-that-sounds-an-awful-lot-like-an-extension-request-but-totally-isn’t, without it turning out like this?

I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter. The clubhouse might tune this all out, or recognize it’s a business, and the power structure remains the same.
My guess is that it wouldn’t lead to a full-blown mutiny, but it could bubble up here and there. Mark Buehrle’s contract will be up in the air next season, as will Matt Thornton’s. They, too, will have a fair share of leverage at their disposal. I’m guessing the Sox would like to handle those quietly, too, and letting Guillen play them publicly might not set the right tone.
It’s just another thing to consider when bringing back Guillen, and another reason why I think it won’t end amicably. Both sides have their reasons for playing it the way they have, but given the fractious nature of the current situation, it looks to me like bringing Guillen back would only result in more cracks.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
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.

Articles: 3389
27 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
cushinglee

Ozzie should realize that if he goes to any other team, that organization will not cover his back when Ozzie says or does something crazy. No other owner is going to give Ozzie the support Reinsdorf has.
In any other city, Ozzie will be looked at as a flake, not as someone that helped bring a long-awaited championship to a franchise. The best situation Ozzie could have is with the White Sox. Why he wants to throw that away, I don’t know. Is it just because of Kenny? Or maybe this is Ozzie’s way of putting the blame on the White Sox if he winds up leaving.
It’s a mess all the way around. Factor in all the free agent questions (Konerko, A. J., etc.) this winter has a good chance to be more frustrating than the regular season.

ricksch

So Guillen is a hypocrite, puts his own interests in front of the team’s and spouts reams of gibberish for the sports press to conjur some non-story? Isn’t that just Ozzie being Ozzie?
I never understood the so-called advantages of your manager as circus side-show, but Ozzie is quite simply a yapping adolescent who won’t let the gravy train of fame and fortune end — and will use whatever means his infantile brain can fathom to keep that from happening.
That ANYONE could rationalize or even imagine some boy-man with verbal diarrhea has the wherewithal to effectively manage, inspire, protect or otherwise work with a large group of young, newly rich and largely coddled male athletes is beyond all logic and comprehension.

fustercluck

The idea that his field & clubhouse management should be evaluated based on how he responds to the press, which profits from controversy, is good enough reason to keep the fans out of the loop.

ricksch

I don’t quite get your meaning — but my point is that whatever great baseball acumen he may or may not possess, Ozzie’s obvious lack of maturity, his mercurial nature and abject selfishness would not seem to make him the ideal leader for elite-level athletes trying to forge careers in the complex, high stakes world of professional baseball. If Ozzie’s often overtly simplistic view was honest and at least SOMEWHAT pure I’d buy into it, but he’s far too cynical and self-absorbed.

fustercluck

What I mean is that the harshest criticism leveled at Ozzie seems to be based on his media sessions: the least important part of his actual job. He’s still managing to win. He hasn’t quit; he won’t let the players quit. What is he guilty of besides answering (and answering) impertinent questions about his managerial future?
A lot of Twins fans complain about Gardenhire making boneheaded in-game decisions. Ozzie’s being blasted over his lack of tact. As a fan, all I ask in a manager is competence and entertainment. Ozzie delivers on both counts.

fustercluck

I love how Ozzie keeps taking the reporters’ bait for juicy quotes. If anything, I can’t wait for things to really go south.
MSM: “Ozzie, here’s a hypothetical for you with Halloween around the corner. If Jigsaw had Oney in a deathtrap, and the key was lodged in the stomach of an infant child, hands tied behind your back, you’re wearing a lobster bib… would you be able to free your son?”
OG: “…That’s sick. What kind of a question is that? Can’t we talk about this kid Flowers or something?”
MSM: “C’mon Oz, hypothetical baby, would you eat it?”
OG: “…Fine, sure, whatever.”
Headline: WILL NOTHING SLAKE GUILLEN’S THIRST FOR NEWBORN BLOOD?

Buehrlesque

Ozzie to the Cubs will not happen, it is just a media creation being used for headlines and leverage.
However, great job digging those 2007 quotes out!
Biggest “Gotcha” moment since Sarah Palin!!

The Wizard

The situation is different this time around. In fact, it’s a polar opposite — Guillen’s coming off a solid season
solid season?
80something wins, -9 in the division, and manhandled by the twinkies?
and asking for credit for weighing 9 games at NL parks heavier over the other 153?

How many games did we win against the National League? 15? Every time we had Jim Thome here, we couldn’t play him against the National League. Why won’t anybody give me credit for that one?

ricksch

agree 100% — I think Jim was reaching with “solid season”. This was a vastly underachieving season with the Sox getting blasted in their own division. And all with a payroll topping $110m if you include the Manny deal. As you remind us — Then Oz goes fishing for props by pumping his record vs. the NL, which only serves to point up Guillen’s massive error in not wanting Thome. What a blathering and blithering fool our skipper is!

dudeman

I’m in agreement that Ozzie had a solid season. Take a look at the opening day roster! With Peavy hurt, Beckham playing horribly for three months, and some poorly timed bullpen injuries, I can imagine a flawed roster with those issues finishing with 75 wins. He’ll exceed that by about ten. Let’s give some due credit.
I agree that his opinions on roster construction- the DH in particular- are not good for the AL, but it shouldn’t be an issue since he is NOT THE GM. That is also why Ricksch’s “point” about player payroll is way off base. HE IS NOT THE GM, RICKSCH!!!
All that said, I’d like to see him go as long as his replacement is someone I can get behind philosophically. I just think his mouth/personality has soured a lot of people. He is definitely a major league manager though.

ricksch

Ozzie’s in-game managing decisions may be league average or better. Though his penchant for stretching the starters or trying to get a full inning out of a given reliever too often fails.
A big part of that IS Williams’ fault for filling the last three bullpen spots this year with garbage.
Yes, Williams IS the GM and HE’S HAD A WAY WORSE YEAR THAN OZZIE. Williams has been hit and miss with trades for years, but this year featured a string of disasters. He boxes himself in with so many bad and/or unmovable contracts that there is seemingly no money left to get a decent second lefty in the pen or a lefty bat — the two big holes most of us saw at the start of the season. Although it’s strange they found $4.3m for one month of Manny — another huge, miscalculation that Williams and his scouts should have maybe seen coming?
But I feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole here because if I call for Kenny’s head, which really needs to roll RIGHT NOW, I’ll be schooled by all you great baseball minds that Kenny is great and it’s all Ozzie’s fault.
Dealing Hudson was so wrong on so many levels and it will hurt the team severely for years to come. There was no logical reason to make that trade. Jackson didn’t address the team’s primary needs at the time and we sacrificed this promising young pitcher who is putting up phenomenal numbers in the 11 starts since we dumped him. Again, this is Williams doing and he needs to be gone before the team can have a chance at competing at the elite level — which they claimed they are able to do every year since ’05!
But back to Ozzie, while Guillen’s press fiascos may not be directly related to what happens on the field, I wonder how they are a positive for his players? If you saw your boss talking such strange gibberish, would you go to him with a personal problem or work issue? Maybe that’s speculation on my part but here’s a fact to consider.
This year Ozzie “won” a poll of Major League players as the guy they WOULDN’T WANT TO PLAY FOR. To be fair he also finished 3rd as the guy THEY WOULD WANT TO PLAY for. But to me, that just points up Ozzie as a love him or hate him guy. I think a manager needs to be in the middle, as a mediator and facilitator. At any rate, it’s at least clear that there are lots of guys who don’t want to play for Ozzie and that can’t make bringing top free agents here any easier.
For that and the reasons I laid out up the string, I think Ozzie is a negative and should be fired, but for anything to really change, it’s more important that Williams be long gone before the off-season begins. As some of you’ve pointed out, we are looking at being the Twins’ pinata for years to come. Now is the time to make some fundamental changes so that we can start actually competing again and for the long term.
Jim, the number of wins the team has isn’t such a meaningful stat and you know it. The nine games over .500 came from the soft schedule that featured the dogs of the NL. We’re barely treading water against the DOGS of our own division and are beaten like a drum by our rivals, the Twins.
Your own division is what matters most and this year, we flat out sucked there.
True, the Sox had some key injuries with Peavy but the Twins lost two of the best players in the game in Morneau and Nathan and they just keep rolling.

ricksch

Jim, A 86 win season may look respectable but it’s not the stated goal of this “Yankee-esque” organization this year, is it? The season’s a failure unless you make the playoffs.
Their horrid divisional record is a major issue in my book and an aspect of this discussion you keep avoiding.
Now is the perfect time for the Sox to change course but so many seem content with Kenny’s short-sighted guesses and Ozzie’s childlike behavior and I just don’t get why. Especially when the team is gouging fans with ticket prices well above and beyond the end product the team delivers. Something is seriously off-kilter with this team and yet what? Stay the course? Just what the hell can they do in the next two-three years to beat the Twins? They are primed with coffers full for next year.

ricksch

Your points have merit, but I still don’t see a promising way forward for the team with Kenny and Ozzie running things.
We’d have much more flexibility with Hudson on the team. Besides that, the Teahen extension and Linebrink’s final contract year will drain payroll in ’11. If Peavy isn’t PEAVY, that will be a major loss of investment vs. return. Peavy is such a big “if” it’s disturbing. Much of the financial pickle the team finds itself in and the lack of prospects that will be Major League ready next year are nre 4reade dnat due to Kenny’s inability to take the long view with a team that at least you never expected to seriously contend.

ricksch

This year Kenny extended a mediocre player who they expected to be their 3rd for years to come but not only can’t he play third, he can’t play anywhere on the field. Teahen played in our own division! They didn’t have the book on this guy!
He then let future Hall of Famer Thome go to the division rival for a virtually risk-free $1.5m contract while reserving a spot on the roster for future nobody Jayson Nix — who gets DFA’d before the All-Star Break!
He leaves a washed-up has-been who never was, Randy Williams on the roster, back-ending a bullpen that already had one dead spot in Linebrink and another near-dead spot in Tony Pena.
He then failed to acquire a lefty bat, leaving an aging bench player, Mark Kotsay, in a role he wasn’t well suited for and which dogged the team all year.
Williams realized he made a mistake and tried desperately to acquire Adam Dunn and was potential dealt dirt by Nats’ GM Rizzo after making the horrendous and unnecessary trade of Hudson for Jackson.
The final stanza featured the acquisition of a steroid cheat who at 38, is only a shadow of his former self without the juice. This came at a cost of $4.3m, which will be tacked onto ticket or parking prices in the very near future.
Williams leaves the farm system cupboard close to bare, as none of the hot prospects he acquired in recent trades are Major League ready, missing the timetable he set for turning over the catcher spot.
But somehow Kenny marches on and few in Sox Nation seem to recognize what a failure this guy has become or how badly they are being robbed for shitty seats at the Cell.
Seriously, I just don’t get it.

The Wizard

I really don’t care what he says unless it puts players in the doghouse. That’s the only way anybody can say it affects wins or losses.
I don’t pay attention to the soap opera stuff. But I do to the game stuff.
I think his decision to kick out Thome affects wins and losses.

The Wizard

You mean the decision Williams took responsibility for?
the one ozzie says was done so he wouldn’t have a useless player in the 9 NL park games.
ps. I replied here because your message didn’t have a “reply to this comment” blue box.

fustercluck

Hey, he wants credit for the interleague games played at The Cell, too…

lorenzobandini

>>No. 1: Is he merely answering questions, or is this a ploy for support?<<
Joe Cowley has been beating this drum all year. Ozzie is just being Ozzie and Joe is taking advantage of that. Ozzie doesn't have to good sense to stop answering Cowley's questions.
As far as a solid season goes…. it was a solid season. The Sox roster does not match up with the Twins roster. Period. The in-season moves the Twins did were better than the in-season moves the Sox did. Period.
The Sox are still trying to build a team with eBay/scrap-heap players…. while the Twins are locking down MVP candidates the cash gained from record attendance ( http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20100922&content_id=14956714&vkey=pr_min&fext=.jsp&c_id=min ). The Sox are going to be toast in the division for years to come using this method.

nelson

i’m so tired of dan mcneil. he is an irrelevant mariotti wannabe. it says something about the state of the newspaper business that they give this bloviating windbag a paycheck.
and i hate his radio show.

Doctor Memory

I appreciate the intensity and devotion of the folks making their voices heard here, regarding Ozzie and Kenny. You guys are interested in a way that I am not, and I understand that I’m missing some things.
That allowed, though, it’s impossible for me to see the advantage to having Ozzie run the team – and I mean for next season.
It simply seems that there’s a need for a change of culture at the field management level. While managers of losing squads are almost-always subject to a low hum of constant criticism, it makes more sense to me to have the criticism limited to on-field/personnel decisions ONLY. As I’ve said before, Ozzie seems more suited to a position of Director of Minor League Development/Talent Evaluation/Latin American Operations, or something of that sort.
A quiet professionalism is what I believe will work best in almost-all cases, over the course of a decade. When will the Sox start this quiet professional decade? Isn’t “immediately” the obvious choice?
We’ve been over and over the Thome decision – and I feel comfortable with my previously-stated position that what makes this season so galling is that Thome has had a career half-year (spread over the entire season), in the same division, and in specific ways that doomed the Sox’s ambitions. This is made additionally painful because the dollars risked were of no consequence. It’s just a very clear, very bad deal – one that arises once-in-in-a-while for any franchise.
Kotsay’s sound-off is quite amazing, isn’t it? Is there any way that reading that dreck doesn’t bring the simmering resentment over the Thome decision to a boil, long after the horse has been out of the barn?
As to Kenny Williams: his style of squad assembly is always going to involve big hits and big misses. (He’s something between the GM equivalent of a Mark Reynolds or Adam Dunn. (Within the metaphor, the key measure has to be NOT Kenny’s prodigious number of Ks or HRs, but how do we measure his OBP – the Teahans, the Vizquels, 4th/5th outfielder, the spot help in the bullpen.)) Is this the proper approach for the specific position of White Sox GM? I don’t know the answer to that.
As an outsider, I’m inclined to like his style – his work in the overall has given quite a bit of satisfactory result. Maybe a late-middle-aged baseball man in the dugout – one who could manage a relationship with Kenny as well as the squad he is given – would net a contender, born of good communication between the manager and the GM in matters of field personnel.
(Imagine a 55-year old Booby Cox: could he and Kenny build a consistent contender? I know what I think.)

soxfan1

We need a change. Ozzie is about as un-professional as you can get. He keeps refering to Jerry’s rules and Kenny’s rules and that he only has two rules. Any middle manager would get fired for that. If a manager cannot enforce the rules of the organization as his own, in addition to motivating the troops, is not doing his job. If I were Jerry having spent over $120 mil for a .500 team, I would probably clean house. That and the carnival atmosphere should get Ozzie canned.

ricksch

Reinsdorf’s misplaced loyalty has been well documented when you look at how he handled Jerry Krause and now John Paxson. The Sox and Sox fans are going to have to get dragged through sewage for a few years for this dog and pony act to end.
Sorry to say but that’s very unfortunate and very likely what’s going to happen. I used to have hope and thought Kenny was at least a decent GM, but this year clearly shows that he’s really short-sighted and doesn’t seem to really know the abilities of those he’s acquiring and those he’s trading.
How many 2nd, 3rd or 4th place finishes will it take?