Drama in ChiTown: White Sox in Trouble

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a report that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and GM Ken Williams had a shouting match that lead to the two being separated Tuesday. Apparently the two men almost came to blows.

Both men are known to be overly competitive and don’t handle losing well. This may just be frustration, or one blaming the other for the poor play. Ozzie’s family also has a hand in this, which I’ll get to later.

This is just the latest in the saga of the struggling Sox.

Prior to the season, there was a report that Williams, Guillen, and Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf would appear on a MLB Network reality show, which Williams wasn’t fond of. A few days later, Guillen admitted that he and Williams relationship was tense; it was known that they didn’t see eye to eye, but it made it seem that the 2009 season was starting to make the relationship fall apart. A few days after that, Williams spoke about Guillen using Twitter; I’m sure he was worried about what Guillen would write, as Guillen is unfiltered with media. The last thing he wanted was Ozzie writing something that would hurt the organization.

In March, Guillen approached the organization about starting his own website; the front office shot down the idea, which was probably at the request of Williams. 2 weeks later, Ozzie’s sone Oney resigned from the organization, where he worked in the video department; Oney was tweeting about the organization and Williams asked him to “tone it down.” Ozzie was not happy with this situation.

After starting the season with a losing record, things have seem to of gotten worse. As the losing started, Reinsdorf asked Williams not to travel on road trips to avoid confrontations with Guillen; Williams complied.

The boiling point came on Tuesday, when the Sox drafted Ozzie’s youngest son, Ozney, in the 22nd round of the MLB Draft. Ozzie was upset that Ozney was drafted so late and that he’d rather have him go to school than join the White Sox:

“I give my kid 50 grand just to go to school. I got 50 grand in my pocket to send my kid to go to Niketown or by something.”

This comment led to the confrontation; Williams questioned Guillen and the confrontation took off.

Williams released a statement on the team’s website:

“We are both very competitive men, strong-willed men,” Williams told the site. “I believe in self-assessment, and I think you have to assess all parts of our operation from top to bottom to determine if it’s, in fact, still a productive working relationship.

“Whether or not the maintenance of that relationship is such that we still have the drive to get through some things and still have the drive to get through some differences … I’m still in that assessment mode for myself, in particular.

“That should not lead to the assumption that I mean that [Guillen] is the one [who may benefit from a change of scenery]. If I determine that I am the one that is the cog in the machine, then I am the one who will stand in front of Jerry Reinsdorf and tell him so and step aside. … I will not deny that I am growing weary of the soap opera.”

It almost sounds as if one of the 2 won’t be staying with the team. It’s a shame, since Williams is a bold GM that isn’t afraid to make a move if/when needed. Guillen has been described as a players manager, although his strong personality does rub some players the wrong way. If anything, the 2 men provide plenty of excitement in Chicago.

If this drama wasn’t enough for the Sox, (overrated) ace Jake Peavy that he’d like to be traded if rebuilding were to take place. Williams was quoted as saying “some changes need to take place” in regards to the struggling team.

“I just want a chance to win,” Peavy said. “I believe it can happen here. I’m excited to be in the situation. Nothing’s changed just because we haven’t played well. I’m excited to be in a situation where it’s not going to be a rebuilding process. If that were the case, I would certainly try to be moved, but that’s the least of my worries.

“It’s just unfortunate, the situation we’re in. I’m very happy to be here, but it is a nice feeling at the end of the day to understand when you can control your destiny and have a say-so.”

Moving him won’t be easy, as he’s owed roughly $40MM over the next 3 years. Add in that he’s not pitching as well as he did in San Diego, the Sox might have to eat quite a bit of money to get anything of real value for the pitcher.

Other trade options for the Sox include catcher A.J. Pierzynski (who gains a limited no trade clause on 6/20 due to 10 and 5 rights), first baseman Paul Konerko, starter Mark Buehrle (another limited no trade player in July), closer Bobby Jenks, and set up man J.J. Putz. They could also deal infielder/bench player Omar Vizquel and outfielder Andruw Jones, both of whom signed 1 year deals prior to the season.

At this point, rebuilding might be the best option for the White Sox; they have some solid players in the minors, but could gain some nice pieces for their future if they trade away some vets. They have building blocks in Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, John Danks, Carlos Quentin, and Gavin Floyd, along with Dan Hudson and Jordan Danks in Triple A.

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