Chicago White Sox: Winds Of Change
We both see that it's time.
Go on cry don't say words of inspiration.
We both see that it's time.
So walk on by."
- Fitz and The Tantrums
It has taken me a couple of days to process the divorce between Ozzie Guillen and the Chicago White Sox. I still cannot believe that he left...so...abruptly. I remember sitting in the sweltering Arizona heat in March, giddy about the upcoming White Sox season. I (as well as many other bloggers/writers) predicted the White Stockings to compete for the pennant. I did not, however, predict the Sox to finish hovering around .500, get owned by the Detroit Tigers (BABIP Luck Dragons, anyone?), and have the Sox identity leave by season's end.
Did Ozzie wear out his welcome like the distant cousin that keeps crashing on your couch and hogging the tv? Maybe. There seemed to be an underlying narrative that Kenny Williams and Ozzie didn't get along. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. But the soap opera was wearing thin on White Sox fans. Alishia (hard core fan of the South Siders) had this to say:
Aside from the fact that I watched the last out (as long as it took) and Ozzie's last moments on the field with tears streaming down my face, I feel upset that the wrong person is gone, (it should have been Kenny Williams), and I have no idea who they think they can bring in that will do better. I'm also relieved that this is finally over. As a serious fan that hangs on every word from the organization, it was just becoming too painful to watch. It was like being the only child in a horrible, bitter divorce. I may need therapy to get over this one (or an amazing 2012 season).I tend to think the White Sox are better with Ozzie than without him. Hell, there's been many a time I have said (out loud, mind you) that I wish Ozzie was the manager of the Cubs -- I think most Cubs fans would have him over Lou Piniella (eek!) and Mike Quade (smh).
I'm sad to see him go, but happy for an end to this pettiness.
Apparently K-dub already has a short-list of possible replacements for Ozzie. Whoever Ozzie's replacement may be, the White Sox need to have a better strategy of being competitive over the long-term. And hiring the next manager should be based on that way of thinking.
The Hot Seat Cometh
After the Jim Hendry firing last month, I published that Kenny Williams is on the proverbial hot seat. It just seems like he doesn't understand that you build value from within the organization utilizing a synergy between your scouts and statisticians. Jon Greenberg quoted KW as saying:
"The bottom line is it's a bottom-line business," Williams said. "It hasn't worked out. So you have to be accountable for that."This is a very finite way of looking at an organization. The "bottom-line" is a result, an output of an organization's inputs (processes, development, management, leadership).
The White Sox can no longer afford to compete on signing high-priced free agents, nor should they. They need a better strategy. And now, all eyes are on Kenny for said strategy (if he needs assistance, I am available at a competitive rate).
Howard Megdal wrote an excellent piece on Returns For Trading The Manager and made this point regarding the transaction for the Sox and Marlins:
It's going to cost the Marlins a pair of prospects: Osvaldo Martinez an infielder, and Jhan Marinez, a relief pitcher. The two rated among Florida's top five prospects to begin 2011, though both have arguably taken steps back this year.It's difficult to measure the value of trading young players for a manager. In my opinion, intrinsically, the Marlins come out ahead on this one (for now) as Ozzie's familiarity with the organization and South Florida's engaging latin community is more of a benefit to the fish than the Sox receiving two top five prospects.
Still, to get a pair of young, cost-controlled players for a manager represents a pretty significant return. Martinez the infielder profiles as a plus glove at second base and shortstop; Marinez the pitcher struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings this season as a 22-year-old in Double-A.
A Thank You
As a disgruntled Cubs fan, I have respect for Ozzie and I appreciate everything that he did for the White Sox; most notably ending an 88-year drought and bringing a baseball championship to Chicago. For that, he'll always have my respect and admiration. It's too bad I couldn't enjoy him in the Windy City a little while longer.