White Sox

Ozzie-Kenny 2011: Summer of Love starts now

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Ozzie-Kenny 2011: Summer of Love starts now

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
8:06 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

In direct contrast to the stormy 2010 season that both men now admittedly regret, Fridays State of the Sox session from Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Ken Williams could be described as nothing short of a lovefest.

The frank and honest session opened to a rousing ovation, after Williams announced that just minutes earlier he had told Guillen that the club was picking up the managers option for 2012, keeping the White Soxs third-winningest manager (career record: 600-535) in town for at least two more years.

Hopefully I manage here for the rest of my career, Guillen said, recounting that when he called his wife, Ibis, with the news, she started crying. Its what Ive always wanted.

Williams, after cracking a joke about whether Ibis was crying tears of joy or sadness, tossed out a tantalizing bon mot.

Providing we can get back to basics and focus, Williams said, I hope to extend Ozzie for the rest of his and my career.

After the seminar, Williams expounded on Guillens future in Chicago.

We have to sit down and we all have to talk about it, he said. What wed like to ultimately do is make sure were all on the same page, traveling down the same course and some of the other, peripheral things are no longer factors. Ive got confidence in every one of these coaches, but this was the first order of business. Now we have to take care of the next set of business winning.

Williams insisted that while he feels his tombstone will read, just one more move to make, and that his roster is never set, for the time being hes content with the 2011 White Sox.

I kind of like where we are, he said. I don't want to subtract from the team. Any deal will have to come from our depth in the minors.

The closest the seminar came to teeth-grinding came after a fan asked about the Twins, specifically the cowering the White Sox do at the hands of Minnesota. As Williams bit his tongue the triumphs of the Twins are more vexing than any to him Guillen responded with characteristic frankness.

While sympathetic to the fan, he said the Jim Thome game-winning home run off Matt Thornton and the Sunday, fall-from-ahead, getaway loss to end that first series after the All-Star break were the two toughest losses of the season, Guillen said his job was harder, because he had to fly to Kansas City after that game with his team.

The plane was silent, Guillen said, noting that the postgame celebration from Minnesota really irritated him and stuck with him all season long. Those two games crushed the ballclub.

As the session wore on, the rapport between Guillen and Williams got more and more relaxed as well. Near its end, Guillen recounted one of his two crazy moves in 2010, and Williams interrupted you made more than two crazy moves.

Other highlights from the State of the Sox seminar:

Jarred by the sight of a half-empty room, someone in the crowd said that it was because fans instead chose to attend Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko autograph sessions. Guillen: I dont blame them."When the first fan question involved the White Sox offense and involved calling ex-White Sox player Nick Swisher a tool, Guillen leaned over to get explanation of the term from Williams, then broke into a smile.Both men stood steadfastly behind mercurial outfielder Carlos Quentin. Guillen repeated his comments to Spanish media on Thursday, that Quentin is the key to the White Sox. Williams called Quentin a Sportscenter guy, explaining that he didnt want to trade Quentin and then have to be haunted by nightly highlights of him playing well for another team.Guillen offered a bizarre explanation of why hes always changing his cell phone number, to which Williams retorted, Como se dice too much information? Soon thereafter, the GM led a rousing serenade of Happy Birthday in honor of Guillens 47th birthday, celebrated on Thursday.Guillen on shortstop Alexei Ramirezs slow starts: When youre from Cuba, 60 degrees is like negative-2. The jefe added that he felt Ramirez was the best shortstop in the American League, and that Ramirez and second baseman Gordon Beckham will be the best double-play combination in baseball.Andruw Jones was on Williams radar, but the team (finally) ran out of money.Williams was excited to recount a mammoth home run hit in Atlanta by Adam Dunn, but Guillen earned some laughs by telling his boss, I dont care how far he hits oneI want Dunn to hit 50 short homers. Also from Ozzie: One thing people overlook about Dunn is he hits to the opposite field hes going to be fun to watch."When a fan started a question with Manny Ramirez, Williams immediately blurted, sorry! to great laughter and applause. Fan: apology accepted.Before giving him a chance to answer a question about the 2011 AL Central competition, Williams put the hammer down: Dont say anything that could go national.Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

White Sox get lesson in why they need their own Justin Verlander type to finish off rebuild

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USA TODAY

White Sox get lesson in why they need their own Justin Verlander type to finish off rebuild

Who will be the White Sox version of Justin Verlander? Their version of Jon Lester?

The big-name veteran brought in from outside the organization to be the cherry on top of a rebuilding effort and push things into contention mode. Who will Rick Hahn & Co. bring in to play that role on the South Side?

The White Sox got a firsthand lesson in why such a player is a necessity, dominated in every sense by Verlander on Tuesday night in Houston. Verlander, who long tormented the White Sox when he played for the division-rival Tigers, took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and finished with one run, one hit and one walk allowed in eight dazzling frames. Jose Abreu's solo homer that broke up the no-hitter in the seventh was the one moment on the evening in which Verlander looked human.

That's the kind of thing Verlander's been doing since the Astros traded for him during the 2017 season, which ended with them winning the World Series. They might do it again this year, the best team in baseball halfway through this four-game series against the White Sox. And he's a big reason they've stayed atop the list of championship contenders the last two years.

Verlander's acquisition was a little different than that of Lester on the North Side of Chicago. The Cubs needed to inject some legitimacy into their rebuilding project and got it by giving Lester, who knew Theo Epstein and his front office from the Boston days, a ton of money to top their rotation. The Astros needed a similar push from one of the game's best pitchers, and they got it by trading for Verlander in a waiver deal with the Tigers. But Verlander accomplished the same goal for the Astros that Lester did for the Cubs. Even in 2019, they're two of the more reliable arms around.

The White Sox might not be ready to vault into contention mode on Day 1 of the 2020 season. Michael Kopech's next start will be just his fifth as a big leaguer. Dylan Cease won't have much more than a month or two of big league experience. Eloy Jimenez has already missed a month of developmental time. Luis Robert will likely be getting his first taste of the majors.

But adding a Verlander type to that group could make a huge difference.

Now, Verlander is one of the best pitchers ever, plain and simple, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. To suggest that kind of pitcher will be available this offseason is perhaps unrealistic. Verlander was set to be among a loaded free-agent class before he signed an extension to stay with the Astros. He wasn't alone, and that thought-to-be-loaded free-agent class is now significantly less loaded. But there are still options, and perhaps more than ever a trade looks like it might be the way to go. If the White Sox do have a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher on their wish list, Verlander's teammate and Wednesday night's scheduled starter, Gerrit Cole, is on track to be among the available free agents.

So, too, is Madison Bumgarner, who more closely fits the mold of accomplished guys like Verlander and Lester. Bumgarner's got an unparalleled amount of postseason success, but he comes with plenty of questions, too. He pitched in just 38 combined games in 2017 and 2018, and while longevity hasn't been an issue this season — he's failed to go six innings in only one of his 10 starts — effectiveness has been an issue. He's got a 4.21 ERA through 62 innings. His highest single-season ERA prior to 2019 was 3.37 in 2012.

It doesn't have to be Bumgarner. And maybe it doesn't even have to be a pitcher. The White Sox have a list of potential starting-pitching options that includes Kopech, Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and others. The Cubs and Astros couldn't craft rotations of homegrown players. The White Sox might be able to, though considering the injuries that have plagued those young arms and the current lack of major league ready starting-pitching depth, a big-time starting-pitching addition would really fortify things.

It could also add that kind of legitimacy that Lester brought to the Cubs. Get one big name to come aboard a still-emerging group, and that could draw more talent that could really kick things into high gear.

There might be no one way to do a successful rebuild, but if the White Sox want to follow the template the Astros and Cubs have used to win championships in recent years, a Verlander type would be a good way to go about doing that. The opportunity has to exist, but you'd have to imagine it's an opportunity the front office will be looking for this winter.

Certainly they're already motivated to do just that. Watching Verlander cut through their lineup Tuesday night should back that motivation up.

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: The White Sox are running out of starting pitchers. Should they bring up Dylan Cease now?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: The White Sox are running out of starting pitchers. Should they bring up Dylan Cease now?

Connor McKnight, Kevin Fishbain and Jay Cohen join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel.

0:00- Ozzie Guillen joins the panel as the White Sox get ready to face the Astros. The guys discuss if there are any similarities between the Astros rebuild and the one the Sox are currently in.

4:00- The White Sox are running out of starting pitchers. Should they bring up Dylan Cease now?

7:00- Yu Darvish allowed 3 runs over six innings with 3 walks and 7 strikesouts. Is that considered a good start for him?

11:00- The Bears continue to unveil their top 100 players. Khalil Mack is 60th after just one season. The guys debate that and the fact that Jim McMahon is 32 spots ahead of Jay Cutler.

16:00- Scott Paddock joins Kap to talk about the fight in the NASCAR All-Star race and to preview a big few weeks at Chicagoland Speedway.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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