White Sox

Ozzie's grade for 2011 letdown: 'Z, for zero'

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Ozzie's grade for 2011 letdown: 'Z, for zero'

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 7:14 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didnt hesitate for a second when I asked him what his grade for the season was.

My grade? Z, as in zero, Guillen smiled. I dont think I did a good job. I told you that in spring training, when you asked, Are you worried about your job if you lose, and I said no.

After joking and amending his grade to XXXthats the best rating Guillen made an admission.

I dont rate myself, he said. I let a lot of people down, including myself. I let myself down and I let my players down. I had a lot of confidence and I expected a lot better things from myself than I did. I expected my ballclub to play better, and it not doing so hurts.

Guillen again reiterated that there is no job in baseball for him that is equal to the White Sox.

I feel for the White Sox, he said. Maybe if I go someplace else, I just have a job and I will just do my job. But with the White Sox, its different. I grew up in this organization. If I managed somewhere else, I would have the responsibility to go in with the best intentions, and Ill still win. But this is a different thing, a different feeling. Sometimes I stop and say Nah, I wont talk about managing elsewhere because I might kill Jerry Reinsdorfs heart. I say a lot of things, but I love this organization. Its always going to be in my heart. Will it always be on my mind? Well see.

As long as he was handing out grades, Guillen mentioned that there could only be a few players hed give an A or A to this season: Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Chris Sale. He found fault with the starting rotation (nobody even made it to 15 wins?), bullpen (early) and, of course, the offense (how about men on second and third base with less than two outs and we dont score?).

Rather curiously and in roundabout fashion, Guillen defended big-money disappointments like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios by clumping virtually the entire roster together as one big letdown.

I don't think we executed well when we had to, the jefe said. We never had a big, big inning. We'd have bases loaded with one out and have an infield groundball and score onethats it. We dont have those types of games like, Wow. A lot of people talk about we pitched well. Yeah, we pitched goodbecause our offense was so bad, our pitching looked very good. It's difficult to point fingers here. I want people to point them at me.

I'm not going to blame anybody because a lot of times Brent Morel or the Missile Alexei Ramirez, have come up with people on base and they didn't do it either. It's just not Dunn and Rios. If Dunn was making 200,000, nobody would care. If Rios was making 400,000, they don't care. That's the way it is.
Return of Ramon

After weeks of shuttling back and forth between his Florida home for doctors appointments and rehab, Ramon Castro has settled in for his last two weeks with the White Sox.

Castro is still regaining strength in his broken right finger, which is still bentthe catcher believes it will remain bent permanentlybut is unlikely to play for the rest of the season.

Guillen was happyit seemsto see his old pal back with the club.

Hes not helping mehe comes to eat our food and our sunflower seeds. Thats all he does here, the manager said. Its nice to see him alive. Ramon was having a good year for us. People dont appreciate what they have until they lose it. We had Ramon keeping everybody loose in the dugout, no matter how tough the game was. Ramon was keeping everybody loose, joking around and trying to keep everybody in a good mood. We lost that.

Castro realizes that with A.J. Pierzynski and apparently Tyler Flowers ahead of him on the depth chart, his return to Chicagowhere he loves to playis unlikely. But at a .763 OPS40 points higher than Pierzynskiwith a strong glove, arm and power, the 13-year vet will surely catch on somewhere.

Whoever is willing to pay me, Ill play for, Castro laughed, trying to ignore both Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo laughing and teasing him over his bent index finger. I love baseball.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

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Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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USA TODAY

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.

The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.

The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.

While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.

Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:

And this may explain why Vieira was even available:

Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return? 

This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:

Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."