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Old 03-18-2008, 09:24 PM   #1
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Team Report: Inside Pitch

Leave it to Ozzie Guillen to make a dull spring camp get a bit more controversial.

The manager is no stranger to raising the bar on his job security, but he pushed it even higher on March 15 in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Trust me, if this thing takes the wrong direction early on like it did last year, I swear to God, if it reaches that point, I'm going to (board chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) and saying: 'Look, don't let my contract make it so I'm holding you hostage; we can talk about something different. You can rip up my contract and do a new one, less years. You won't have to pay me for this,'" Guillen told the newspaper.

When asked if he had any type of conversation like that with Reinsdorf yet, Guillen said no, but it was coming.

"He knows how I feel, and he knows I will," Guillen said. "It's all about winning. It's all about pride. It's all about being on top. It's not about being rich or having more money. I already have money. My life is, thank God, set. My thing is to put this organization back on top, and that's what I think about every day. It's in my hands to try to do it."

So why has Guillen continued to push the stakes on his job so high?

"I said some things like this last year, I know it, but I was so embarrassed at the end of the season last year," Guillen explained. "When I left Chicago on that Monday morning after the season was over, that was the only time I ever wanted a private jet because I was so embarrassed to go to O'Hare Airport and have people look at me like, 'That's the guy who is at fault.' I really was."

Through all of his "go ahead and fire me" rhetoric in 2007, the organization had the final word last September when it announced that Guillen was signed to a contract extension through the 2012 season.

"I don't have a right to be here just because I have a contract," Guillen said. "That doesn't entitle me to be here until my contract is done. I can say this from my head and my heart, and I know I've said this before: If Kenny (Williams, the general manager) and Jerry don't feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do and can get someone better, I will redo my contract.

"I will tell Jerry, 'Tear up my contract.' I want Jerry's money, of course, but I don't need it. If this organization needs to go in a different direction or will be better without me, we can do something different."


Wasn't pleased last year & not enamored with Ozzie's performance but I do like how he's walked out on the limb this year. I hope the rest of the team is driven enough to be so bold...


With Crede healthy, White Sox have decisions to make at third base

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Joe Crede couldn't sleep. He couldn't pick up his two young daughters. And he couldn't stand for more than a few minutes at a time if he was talking to someone.

His back was a mess.

He's feeling better now after season-ending surgery last June, but the third baseman's future is up in the air. Crede has one year left on his contract, and the Chicago White Sox have a promising replacement in Josh Fields.

"I'd obviously want to stay here," Crede said. "This is the organization that gave me the opportunity to realize my childhood dreams. This is a great organization, with great coaches, great players. I love the fans of Chicago. It's a great city, and it's hard to beat a place like this."

It's no secret that the White Sox would like to trade him and clear the way for Fields, who moved up from the minors while Crede was sidelined and finished with 23 homers and 67 RBIs last year. So far, they haven't found an acceptable offer.

Crede is an excellent fielder who could hit 30 homers - as he did two years ago - if he's healthy. And he insists he is, that his timing is getting back to where it needs to be, and he has no regrets about the decisions he made after his back flared up toward the end of the 2006 season....

Crede agreed to a one-year, $5.1 million deal in January, and the White Sox will be in an awkward situation if they don't trade him before the opener.

They don't want to carry two third basemen, and Fields isn't going back to left field, where he played 21 games last year in a failed experiment. Instead, he could wind up starting the season in the minors if Crede is still around.

"It would be tough, coming up at the end of last season and feeling like I proved I can play in the major leagues," Fields said.

Meanwhile, Crede feels more like his old self, even though he had just three hits in 33 spring training at-bats entering Tuesday's game against San Diego.


I know Crede has to go but I think he's still a needed piece to keep the ChiSox heads above water for the time being. I'm just tired of losing some of these guys with not much to show....


Alexei Ramirez remains man of mystery for ChiSox

TUCSON, Ariz. -The White Sox aren't quite sure what to do with Ramirez make him a utility man in the majors or an everyday shortstop or second baseman at Class AAA. But this much seems certain: They've got a player.

Other clubs backed off Ramirez, who defected from Cuba last November and established residence in the Dominican Republic to pursue a major-league career. The White Sox, never afraid to be contrarians, signed him to a four-year, $4.5 million contract....

Ramirez, 26, is listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, the same as the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano. Like Soriano, he possesses wiry strength and enough versatility to play infield or outfield. As the center fielder for Cuba in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he had six hits in 16 at-bats.

"If you're a scout and you're sitting in the stands, this guy is going to open your eyes," says one scout who is following the White Sox this spring. "All the things you can't teach, this guy's got."

Ramirez's physical assets include bat speed, foot speed and arm strength. Yet, some clubs that scouted his individual and collective workouts in the Dominican over the winter viewed him as a project. Two general managers, speaking on condition of anonymity, say their teams envisioned starting Ramirez at Class AA.

GM No. 1 says his evaluators like Ramirez's athleticism, but thought his long actions in the infield made him better suited for the outfield. Even then, the evaluators said, Ramirez's upside would be limited, and that he probably would be no more than an extra outfielder.

GM No. 2 says his team viewed Ramirez as a "mixed bag" defensively he displayed good hands, but his footwork needed an overhaul. Offensively, the organization concluded that Ramirez would be, at best, a line-drive hitter with limited power.

Those judgments, GM No. 2 stresses, were formed only from workouts, not game situations. It might be years before anyone knows whether the dissenting teams were right on Ramirez and the White Sox were wrong. But Ramirez, at the very least, is making a strong initial impression.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and bench coach Joey Cora say that Ramirez could play major-league defense at shortstop immediately. He is less experienced and polished at second, but the White Sox are playing him regularly at the position and he seems to be adapting quickly.

"You can see that he has played a lot," Cora says. "He knows how to play the game. You can communicate very easily in baseball terms with him. He understands what he's talking about. He understands the game. He's not a baby in baseball experience."

Ramirez possesses a quick bat he is 12-for-32 (.375) with four doubles and a triple in Cactus League play but at times is overly aggressive. Guillen is particularly impressed by his ability to hit a good fastball. Breaking balls, though, give Ramirez trouble so much trouble that he might be overmatched by quality major-league pitching initially....

The scout, though, says he likes Ramirez's actions in the field, his fundamentally sound approach, even his fluid reactions at second base. For now, the White Sox are keeping their options open....

The problem with keeping Ramirez at short is that the White Sox want to sign their new shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, to a contract extension before he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Second base is more likely to be open in 2009, so moving Ramirez to that spot permanently at Class AAA might be in the White Sox's best long-term interests.

Then again, the Sox also could open the season with Ramirez as their super-utility man, using him at second, short and center. The White Sox are uniquely equipped to help Ramirez develop at the major-league level Williams and Cora speak Spanish, and Sox right-hander Jose Contreras was a teammate of Ramirez's for two seasons in Cuba.

Williams says he asked the White Sox's coaches to draw up plans detailing how many at-bats Ramirez would get in different scenarios. In the end, giving Ramirez part-time work this season might be the best way to prepare him for full-time duty next season. Cora thinks Ramirez might rise to such a challenge.

"One thing about Cubans they don't like to be embarrassed," says Cora, a native of Puerto Rico. "Alexei is going to work his butt off at second base. He doesn't want to embarrass himself. It's the same thing with Contreras (who struggled last season).

"They might have defected from Cuba, but they still have Cuba inside of them. They want Cuba to be proud of them. It's something that drives them."

The last word, as usual, belongs to Guillen.

"To tell you the truth, he's better than I thought," the manager says. "He will be an everyday player in the big leagues."


I like this move a lot & don't really understand some of the trepidation. The money's not bad & the talent is agreed to be there for the most part. Once he cycles thru the league a couple times, his market price will be set. I'd rather have a decision to make about a guy under contract than not.
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:40 AM   #2
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The White Sox will be an interesting team to watch this season. My prediction for them is about 72 wins and last place in the AL Central. They gave up too much to get Swisher and should not have moved Garland. They are old at many positions and have not filled the hole in CF.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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He justs needs to concentrate and building a winning team and shut up.
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