White Sox

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

537699.jpg

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.

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease shows off big velocity in first spring training start

Dylan Cease is entering the 2020 season with plenty to prove. Considering how important he is to the future of the White Sox, it is perhaps fitting he was the first White Sox pitcher to take a mound in a spring training game.

On Saturday, Cease pitched two innings against the Cincinnati Reds as he ramps up to full strength. The most notable thing wasn’t how long he pitched or what his stat line was. It was his fastball.

Cease's fastball sat mostly at 96-98 mph and topped at 99. Cease quipped there could be a bit more in terms of his velocity.


Cease averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in the majors in 2019. In 73 innings, he threw nine pitches that were at least 99 mph, topping out at 100.1 mph, according to Baseball Savant. He was capable of throwing that hard, but didn't do it often. For Cease to be on the higher end of his average and feature a 99 mph fastball in his first pitches of Cactus League baseball might be a sign that he could have added a touch more velocity.

It’s also just a two-inning spring training start, meaning Cease knew he could let fly a bit more in a shorter outing. Cease told reporters after his start he was focusing on his fastball command. He struck out three with no walks and three hits allowed.

In his rookie season, Cease struggled with command and consistency. He had a 5.79 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 35 walks over 14 starts.

February baseball doesn't carry any meaning, but this is a small encouraging sign for Cease.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

yasiel_puig.jpg
USA TODAY

Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

You can put to bed the rumors about free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig possibly signing with the White Sox. It’s not happening.

The two sides did get together during the MLB Winter Meetings in December. Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria met with Puig for about 90 minutes to discuss the possibility of the 29-year-old joining the White Sox as their everyday right fielder.

But instead, the White Sox chose to take a different route. That same week, they acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker, ending any chance of Puig coming to the South Side.

“After our meeting we came away big Yasiel Puig fans, but he wasn’t the right fit for us then and he isn’t right now,” Williams said.

With spring training games starting this weekend and the regular season a little over a month away, fellow Cuban Jose Abreu says he’s surprised the flashy 29-year-old outfielder remains a free agent.

“Yes, I am (surprised). That’s one of those things that happen that you don’t understand. A guy with his talent. He’s still so young,” Abreu said through a translator. “He doesn’t have a team yet. It’s a surprise. I’m confident he’s going to find something this year.”

Even with Puig’s talent, Abreu looks around the White Sox clubhouse and agrees with the decision by the White Sox not to sign the former All-Star who hit .267/.327/.458 with the Reds and Indians last season.

“I don’t think he would be a good fit here. Don’t get me wrong. He has a lot of talent but we’re full," Abreu said. "Our outfield is looking great with Nomar (Mazara), Eloy (Jimenez) and (Luis) Robert. There’s no reason for us to make more moves in that area of our team. He’s someone who would fit in with any major league ball club because he has the talent to help any of those teams.”

What about possibly platooning Puig with Mazara in right field? On paper, that might sound like a good plan, although Puig has traditionally hit better against righties than lefties in his career. But a larger issue could be the timeshare. The idea of Puig, nicknamed “Wild Horse,” being forced to the stable for half the season could spell problems not only for him, but the chemistry inside the clubhouse.

“It would be difficult, especially for him being an everyday player,” Abreu said about Puig being a platoon player.  “When you have to make that decision, it’s not easy.”

So, where will Puig end up?  No one knows for sure but it won’t be with the White Sox.  

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.