White Sox blow solid Axelrod outing, make funeral arrangements

White Sox blow solid Axelrod outing, make funeral arrangements
This original caption is great enough as is; "Ozzie Guillen watches another bad loss" // Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

On Wednesday afternoon, recent callup Dylan Axelrod--notable for his mediocre minor league strikeout rate, notable for being cut by the Padres, who are notable for not having talent to spare--threw six innings against one of the best offenses in the league.

He allowed Carlos Guillen to crank a HR, walked two batters, but also only allowed two runs, and struck out eight hitters.

Eight!

He even struck out Wilson Betemit three times.  Dylan Axelrod dominated Wilson Betemit.

Then the bullpen blew a three-run lead he staked them to...as if this was a sort of thing that happened all the time!!!

So when Joe Cowley brought forth his article that kind of confirmed Kenny Williams would be returning for 2012 amidst oceans of words bemoaning the potential loss of Ozzie Guillen--what a relief!  Anything to avoid discussing that game, that horrid, horrid game.  A game whose primary positive quality is that it did not matter.

Beyond self-satisfaction and a strong affinity for the Guillen family, Cowley is known for his well-placed sources, so in all likelihood his report that Kenny Williams has been informed that he'll be back at GM is sound.  So much for those improbable notions of Williams stepping away from the controls and promoting his wunderkind assistant Rick Hahn to upstage him.

The rest of the piece is a continuation of a multi-year narrative Cowley has crafted about the cold war between Guilen and Williams.  He's too well-connected to Guillen to think a significant rift doesn't exist, but Cowley's gift is not subtlety.  If there was more meat on his rumor that Williams is looking to ditch almost all of Guillen's coaching staff at least, and Guillen too at the most, it wouldn't be buried near the end of the article.

Without anymore definitive confirmation of activity, there's at least Guillen sounding as detached and resigned from his roster as possible.

In a longer diatribe decrying a lack of fight in the players, Guillen bemoaning how crushed Dylan Axelrod will be should he care about pitcher wins, and the possible loss of bonuses for finishing in 2nd place, was this morsel:

"Whoever doesn't want to play, make sure you let me know," Guillen said. "That's easy. I don't want to waste my time playing people if they don't want to play, and keep suffering and getting older and wrinkled and white hair when somebody else doesn't care.

When Guillen first took over for Jerry Manuel in 2004, these type of public challenges seemed like they had the chance to be the norm.  Now the notion of Guillen mercilessly rooting out all detached and lethargic parties seems as ill-fitting as it did next to the sleepy public image that Manuel wore in his final days.

Whether Ozzie snapping into action is an attempt to detach himself from the doomed roster Williams crafted or just him waking at the wheel with a start, it's kind of pointless at this stage.  Sub-.500 years with $127 million rosters tend to get someone fired, and his die was cast with his obstinance all summer.

The fate of the White Sox isn't changing at all with any recent occurrences, we're just waiting on the announcement.

 

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  • I wonder if Cowley won his battle with Spiegs. Guess he now has some source to Jerry and Kenny.

    $2 million buyout of Ozzie seems cheap.

    The real question is what players quit? Dunn and Peavy certainly. Dunn seems more interested chewing his gum than hitting or playing 1B. AJ's magic dirt didn't work on Peavy. I suppose you can list several others.

    I have the feeling that Ozzie now is like Ditka going into the early 90s, in that both were local favorites and favorites of the owner, won the big one for the only time in recent Chicago history, and then underachieved and became too nuts.

    However, we have to hope that the next one isn't baseball's Wanny. That may be possible since he will be stuck with Kenny's mistakes.

  • In reply to jack:

    It seems harsh to say that guys quit. Dunn pressed himself into his worst season as a pro (he's defintiely in real decline, but he exacerbated it), Peavy rushed himself at every turn wanting to contribute, and every time I write off Rios as a letharic lout, he does something to show he's as frustrated as anyone. They definitely seem resigned to their fate to end the year.

    I don't like to make every time a player fails to wring out every ounce out of his players a huge indictment of the manager, but it's just such an odd year to demand for an extension.

    The Ditka comp seems apt, both in the trajectory of their careers, and the fact that while I'm tired of Guillen, his departure will be heartbreaking. This is the only place he ever wanted to work, and he won the Sox their first world series in over 90 years. To explain how he got fired 6 years later to my kids will be weird.

    Cowley has always had great sources, that's his value.

    I've been tossing around this metaphor in my head for a while, that there are two types of people who get fired in this world. There's the guy who performs their job poorly for a prolonged period of time, and there's the guys who disobeys a direct order or breaches some code of employment. Kenny's the first, Ozzie's the second. The second type always gets the axe first.

    The mere mention of Wannstedt's name sends chills up my spine.

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    Ozzie said at the beginning, and most managers used to, that being hired means being fired. Didn't Frank Robinson say at the beginning of his tenure that he would be the first Black manager to be fired?

    It seems like sports and Trump are the only ones that fire people, as the usual corporate euphemism these days is someone "decided to pursue other interests."* I even saw that in the religious context today, although the employee said that the congregation threw him into the street, figuratively speaking. However, in Ozzie's case, the euphemism might be appropriate.

    As to your two types of firing, I guess the only thing that can be said is that there is a certain tolerance for mediocrity, as opposed to defiance. For instance, it took Ricketts 1-1/2 years to cut the tie with Hendry. If anyone runs the Bears, they certainly had no problem with Phillips and Angelo continually reupping themselves.

    ________
    *I think I commented on Lovie using similar corporate speak in the context of Chester Taylor, who was eventually cut, just not that day.

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