It's still kind of weird to read a story about "manager Ozzie Guillen", and realize it's not White Sox-related, but rather pertaining to some strange southeastern franchise that has Chris Volstad on it.
Luckily, there's a feature with ESPN the Magazine where Tim Kurkjian seemingly allowed Guillen to speak extemporaneously on the often-addressed topic of himself, and it catches Guillen sounding as detached from and not missing the White Sox as he could be while staying within the bounds of good taste.
Well, mostly good taste. It's also features a picture of him letting his pet bulldog kiss him deep in the mouth. That's not really relevant, but it's fairly obvious, and you'd probably wonder how I could go through this without mentioning it otherwise.
Anyway, I need to pack-up this computer so it can be repaired for its bourbon-spilled-on-the keyboard related maladies, so let's fire through Ozzie quotes FJM-style, and call this one a night.
"If you are engaged to a girl for eight years and she asks if you're going to marry her and you say no, then it's not going to work. I wanted to stay with the White Sox, but they didn't want me. The Marlins wanted me. They are a young team I can mold, and that really matters to me. I expect it to be fun, and I expect to win."
If we want to extend the marriage metaphor, perhaps one would be wise to ask if while in the midst of a 16 month period where you drank heavily, belittled your significant other in front of their friends, and regularly left the house in disrepair, is really the best time to inquire about spending the rest of your lives together.
More interesting is the comment about wanting a young team to mold. Perhaps that's just Ozzie's desire to instill Ozzieball in young minds, or perhaps he's genuinely interested on principle. It's easy to think of Guillen as a veteranophile, but how much of that is the organization? Chris Sale, Gordon Beckham, and Alexei Ramirez all provide examples of newbies who got all the run they could want right away. Then again, who the hell would have kept those three on the bench?
"My relationship with White Sox GM Kenny Williams? On the field it was good. But the last two years, off the field, it was not good. It was unhealthy for the team. It was unfair to the players because we put ourselves between them."
I'm not sure what "on the field" could be referring to, seeing as in eight years as the skipper, Guillen couldn't find it in his heart to give Williams even a single plate appearance. Furthermore, it's hard to imagine how their feuding could be simultaneously detrimental to the team, but not detrimental to the team on the field. Everyone was bummed out, but still played awesome? Then it didn't really hurt the team, right?
I'm pretty sure if he's saying leadership and clubhouse environment are irrelevant to performance, that Robin Ventura should immediately be fired and replaced with the simulation engine in High Heat Baseball '04.
"I want everyone with the Marlins to know I'm not who people think I am. People say, "Ozzie Guillen is the guy who throws players under the bus." I never throw a player under the bus if he's playing the right way. If he isn't doing the job, don't blame the player, blame me."
"I am a fun guy to play for. I'd like to play for me. If the players hate me so much, then why did Paul Konerko re-sign twice with the White Sox when I was the manager? Why did Mark Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski re-sign? If I've had 1,000 players and only 100 of them hate me, I'll take that."
This would seem to pretty much be a truism. Because he's divisive in the press and his kids can be trusted to make any feud he does have into Mt. St. Helens, I imagine that the national perception is that Guillen is hard to deal with, and it will be a mild surprise to Miami fans that he's pretty clearly a players' manager. One of the first televised images of Guillen after his resignation was Mark Buehrle lining up his entire family to say goodbye and hug him outside the clubhouse. It seemed telling at the time, and still does.
"When I negotiated my contract with the Marlins, there were no guarantees about payroll. I never stick my nose into that business. Just give me 25 players, and I'll make it work. Don't just spend money for the sake of spending money. Don't throw money at a player because he has a big name."
This "money for the sake of money" and 'throwing money at big names" bit is either a hyper-vague platitude or some sort of total strawman critique of the Adam Dunn signing. However, it's amusing that if any team were to actually spend money for the sake of spending money, or throw it at a player just for name value, it's probably the one he just joined.
"I've never managed without a designated hitter, but I'll get used to it. I don't like the DH. I have a bulldog and named him DH because he is so lazy. He just sits there, eats and sleeps."
One could probably guess that Guillen had an aesthetic distaste for DH's and their slow, plodding ways just from how much he loved labor-intensive players like Juan Pierre. Obviously this distaste wasn't a serious issue when Guillen had no wiggle room (Thomas, Thome, and the issue with Dunn certainly wasn't Guillen benching him too much), but I tend to reject the notion that "the rotating DH idea of 2010 wasn't a bad idea, just the wrong personnel". The flaw of that idea is that it's generally doomed to not jive with the personnel readily available. To get the most value out of the DH position, you want the best hitter. The best hitters combine great contact and discipline with power, and power generally requires a larger frame, which generally precludes you from defensive excellence...or even major league capability.
Take a look at the top 10 hitters in wRC+. Half of them are 1st basemen (and that's giving you David Ortiz), one is only playing corner outfield (poorly) because Albert Pujols is on his team. Braun and Bautista probably aren't much longer for the outfield, Holiday is average in the corners, and Kemp is actually a centerfielder (though, again, not for much longer). It's not that there's no such thing as an elite hitting, good-glove player, it's that a set-up where the DH can be swapped around regularly without significant defensive drop-off, while not limiting the caliber of hitter that can be pursued for the role, is pretty darn idealistic.
"I'm not an easy guy to like sometimes, but I said what I felt, not what you wanted to hear."
He's gotta stop stealing lines from Jim Rome. He just has to.
Paddy, Paddy, Paddy (I'm out of ideas, as you can see)
The White Sox hired Marco Paddy to serve as Assistant to the General Manager. Paddy spent the last five seasons working as the director of Latin American operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, so it's not a wild assumption that he'll be serving in a similar function for the White Sox. It's a little too soon to point to a wave of player success stories with Paddy's fingerprints all over them, but he's headed up a crucial element of an extremely well-regarded farm system, and should be able to help improve the Sox moribund record of signing Latin American free agents.
It's interesting that the White Sox are waiting till now to get serious about Latin American operations, when it's no longer an avenue to get a huge leg-up on the rest of the league. But one of my continuing joys in writing about the White Sox is discovering how delightfully weird and unique they are. Rather than be forced to try to make typical activities that every team goes through seem novel, this team is a charred piece of metal wreckage, twisted into the shape of a blooming flower.
Goodbye, computer. You served me well. Then you got drunk. Now your spacebar doesn't work. Into the box you go, hopefully you come back with a new video card too.
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, albert pujols, Alexei Ramirez, baseball, Chris Sale, chris volstad, david ortiz, espn, Gordon Beckham, jim rome, jose bautista, Juan Pierre, Kenny Williams, lance berkman, Mark Buehrle, matt kemp, miami marlins, Ozzie Guillen, paddy marco, Paul Konerko, ryan braun, Tim Kurkjian, toronto blue jays, White Sox