White Sox

Sox Drawer: Playing the Manny Two-Step

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Sox Drawer: Playing the Manny Two-Step

Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010
7:11 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

Im not sure if Kenny Williams prefers the waltz, the polka, the salsa, or the centipede, but the White Sox general manager had his dancing shoes on before Tuesdays game vs. the Orioles, doing the do-si-do around every question about you know who.

Im not sure if I can say his name. Kenny wont, because hes the property of another team. But maybe not for long.

You can ask it in all different ways, but the answer to the question is, it does me no good to speak on it, Williams said. And the main reason is because I think this team needs to be focused on whos going to battle for them and not whos going to walk through the door.

But if the Los Angeles Dodgers do, in fact, place Manny Ramirez on waivers, Williams will likely do everything in his power to give the veteran slugger a key to the Sox clubhouse because of the boost he can give to the White Sox lineup. True, the offense hasnt been the teams biggest problem lately. That would be the bullpen.

Any chance Manny can close?

But come September, which is traditionally Manny Time, ask yourself this question: do you want Ramirez coming to the plate with the game on the line or an inconsistent Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones?

With Manny questions coming from every angle, Williams did his best to dodge them all, but at the same time he never denied interest in Ramirez, choosing instead to smile his way through the media session with a grin that said, Yes, were interested in Ramirez, but with words that didnt say "no" either.

Williams also gave the following answer to a very loaded question about acquiring a certain player whose personality might not fit with his current team:

The perfect fit is less important than production in the last month of the season, and thats not to say I dont factor it in, Williams said. But you can only get on someones nerves so much in 30 days. So you come in, you produce, we win, everybodys happy. You dont, and the guy leaves.

Who else could Williams be talking about? Terrell Owens?

When asked whether he could manage Ramirez and his me-first personality, Ozzie Guillen said, I can handle anyone. But would he want Manny added to his team?

"I don't know," Guillen said. "Manny hasn't played in the big leagues in a little while. If Kenny asked me if you need Manny or do you want Manny here, I'm going to say yes because you know why? He's going to bring him anyway. Then why not?"

But considering that Ramirez has played in only 166 games the last two seasons because of injuries and his 50-game drug suspension in 2009, which Manny would show up? Guillen isnt so sure.

If you give me Manny when he was with Boston, Ill take a limo to pick him up, Guillen remarked. But I havent seen Manny in a long time. I didnt even see Manny in spring training and we played against him every day."

Theres also the issue of Ramirez's ever-growing Bob Marley locks, which might not sit well with a certain White Sox chairman, who made A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede cut their bushy manes during the 2006 season.

"I want to see how Jerry Reinsdorf confronts the hair. It's not going to be my bleeping department, Guillen said.

But for Ramirez, maybe the most important factor can be found in the motivation department. Manny will have plenty. Hes a free agent after this season, so hes playing for his next contract. He loves the spotlight. He thrives under pressure. Hes aware that his future is back in the American League as a designated hitter.

The Dodgers arent going anywhere.

The White Sox hope to be headed somewhere.

Well know in the next few days if Manny is headed here.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas

White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas came on the podcast to talk with Chuck Garfien about his past, baseball's present and the future of the White Sox. He talks about his first major league hit (a stand-up triple!), how fame affected him when he was a player, his appearance on David Letterman in the 1990s and more. 

Plus, what was wrong with the baseball this past season? Thomas has some ideas and tells Garfien how many home runs he would have hit with that baseball in his prime. He talks about working with Alex Rodriguez at FOX and what it was like whenever girlfriend Jennifer Lopez came to visit in the studio.

Thomas praises the White Sox rebuild and reveals an idea he presented to GM Rick Hahn about where all the top prospects should play this upcoming season. He describes what it was like going to Roy Halladay's funeral, if he sees the White Sox signing Manny Machado in 2019 and much more.

Listen to the full White Sox Talk Podcast right here:

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).”