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Decision 2010: Keep Kenny, Fire Ozzie.....

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Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

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Reading an article today on ChicagoSports.com by long time veteran baseball scribe Phil Rogers in which he makes a case that White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams is as much to blame for the White Sox struggles as of late.  In the article Rogers points out the numerous times Kenny Williams has gone out and traded prospects for veterans and has failed in building a strong (or at least moderately good) farm system.  Rogers points out that Williams trading prospects for vets and bungled, ineffective efforts in Latin America have resulted in one of game's weakest farm systems.
 
While I do agree with Rogers on some points in his article. I believe if you want to put blame on anyone for the failures of the past five seasons as far as building off a World Series title you have to look at the man running the team.  For all the money and prospects traded away by Kenny Williams, the fact is he has given Ozzie Guillen the talent to win the American League Central in four of the last five seasons (excluding the 2009 campaign)
 
If the White Sox need to make some drastic changes to the front office/management of this team, I think you keep Kenny Williams and show the once coined "Blizzard Of Ozz" the door.
 
Here's why.
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Understanding that there are fans who believe in building teams through the farm system and there are fans who believe in building champions through trades and free agency, I am a fan of the later.  Although looking at the past couple of World Series Champions, you can see there is a fine balance to buying/trading for talent and raising talent.  If indeed you believe that a good farm system wins you titles, simply look back to the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox.
 
Of the 25 man roster:
 
Joe Crede, Aaron Rowand, Mark Buehrle, and Brandon McCarthy were the only members of that team drafted and brought up through the White Sox minor league system.  Since then, the accomplishments of these four players (minus Buehrle) have been minimal at best.  In fact of the players Kenny Williams has drafted over his tenure as GM of the White Sox, how many of them have worked out after being traded to another team.
 
Jeremy Reed - played for three teams since being traded for Freddy Garcia in 2004.

Brandon McCarthy - gone 13-15 in three seasons with the Texas Rangers since being traded for John Danks in 2006.

Boone Logan - Been a decent reliever for the Braves/Yankees since being traded for Tyler Flowers (book still out on Flowers)

Brian Anderson - Now a pitcher in the KC Royals farm system after being traded for Mark Kotsay (Ozzie Guillen hire)

Ryan Sweeney - Has batted .291 w/12 home runs 134 RBI in three seasons with Oakland after being traded for Nick Swisher in 2006.

Josh Fields - Played eight games for Kansas City this year after being traded for Mark Teahen

Gio Gonzalez - Traded to Philadelphia for Jim Thome, then traded back with Gavin Floyd for Freddy Garcia, then traded to Oakland for Nick Swisher.  21-20 record with 4.55 ERA in three seasons with Oakland.

Lance Broadway - Did not play MLB baseball this season...traded in 2009 for Ramon Castro.

Chris Carter - Traded for Carlos Quentin.....he just hit his first home run yesterday against the White Sox two and a half seasons after being traded.  Batting .100 for Oakland.

Clayton Richard - Having a good year in first full season w/Padres.  13-8 with a 3.53 ERA.  Traded for Jake Peavy.

Aaron Poreda - Did not play major league baseball this year...traded w/Clayton Richard for Jake Peavy.

John Ely - 4-8 in first season with the Dodgers....traded for Juan Pierre.

Chris Young - Batting .241 with 96 home runs and 292 RBI in five seasons with Diamondbacks....traded for Javier Vazquez.

Daniel Hudson - Gone 6-1 with a 1.65 ERA in ten starts after being traded for Edwin Jackson this summer (Jackson 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA in nine starts for White Sox)
 
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Any trade needs to time to be judged in the trade worked out for one/both teams.  Of the above (using that logic), the only trade that did not work out for the White Sox is Ryan Sweeney for Nick Swisher.  So is Kenny Williams really at fault for trading away top prospects like Jeremy Reed, Brandon McCarthy, Gio Gonzalez and Clayton Richard if it brought the South Side Freddy Garcia, John Danks, Jim Thome, and Jake Peavy?
 
The point I am trying to make is under Williams tenure, he has drafted players with enough hype/potential at the time that he took the risk of trading that potential for something proven (for the most part).  Javier Vazquez, Jim Thome, Jake Peavy, Nick Swisher at the time improved the baseball team more than relying on patience and development of prospects.  The win at all costs now mentality is what makes Kenny Williams such a highly respected general manager around major league baseball.  
 
If Williams is bringing in talent to win now, then the emphasis on molding the talent pool of the 25 man roster is strictly placed on the shoulders of the manager.  The negatives outweigh the positives when it comes to Ozzie Guillen as manager of the White Sox as opposed to Kenny Williams as General Manager of the White Sox.   
 
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I agree that there is blame to be shared after a disappointing season in which Williams built what many experts thought could be the best rotation in baseball including a dominating bullpen with three potential closers.  Williams also brought in a proven lead off hitter in Juan Pierre and solidified the center field position with two time all star Alex Rios.  The talent was there like it was in years previous, but the game day management is what the final result is based on entirely.
 
The end result for the fourth time in five years was simply not good enough to make the postseason.  If indeed Ozzie Guillen continues to manage the Chicago White Sox in 2011, it will be the final year of his contract and he will be one of three managers in MLB to make the postseason only once in the last five seasons (barring if Joe Maddon leads Rays in playoffs) and still be managing the same team (Jim Leyland).   
 
Since 2005:
 
1. Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays) 398-401 .498 winning %  (1 World Series Appearance 2008)  
2. Jim Leyland (Detroit Tigers) 419-381 .523 winning % (1 World Series Appearance 2006)  
3. Ozzie Guillen (Chicago White Sox) 410-391 .512 winning % (1 ALDS Appearance 2008)
 
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Going forward, Kenny Williams is more important to the White Sox success than Ozzie Guillen.  It's more important to have a general manager that is willing to step outside the box and make a deal when it is needed than have a manager that his career has shown cannot win in the second half of a baseball season.  
 
Ozzie Guillen current second half record (245-266 .479 Winning Percentage)
 
It is more important to a franchise to take chances with prospects in trades for proven commodities, than a manager who over the last three seasons is only two games above .500 against the same division he manages in and the division record has gotten worse each of the last three seasons.
 
Ozzie Guillen vs. AL Central: 2008 (44-29)  2009 (34-38)  2010: (30-39 currently)  TOTAL: (108-106)
 
Simply put Kenny Williams has had a better tenure at his job than Ozzie Guillen has had at his.  The honeymoon is over for the 2005 World Series Championship season, and I think has been for at least the last couple of years.  Ozzie Guillen may be a good manager, but the results since 2005 have left me asking if he is indeed the right man moving forward. 

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General Managers bring in the talent for the manager to "manage" and make a winner.  Kenny Williams has given Ozzie Guillen proven veteran baseball players as well as taken risks on unknowns and more often than not have worked out.  Ozzie Guillen simply has not won enough games since 2005 for me to have any confidence in him to lead this club into next season.
 
Everyone is hired to be fired in Major League Baseball.  If indeed it comes down to someone getting the pink slip and the bus out of town between the two ego-driven men of the White Sox management.....thanks Ozzie for 2005, but it is time to move on.
 
-RoCk
 
Rock Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score.
 
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at twitter.com/mullyhanley
 
You can follow The Joe O And Rock Show at twitter.com/joeoandrockshow



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