Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The end of the Ozzie era in Chicago

Ozzie Guillen, looking for his way out.
Ozzie Guillen is, finally and fer sure, out as manager of the Chicago White Sox. He had a good run there -- third most wins as a White Sox manager (behind Al Lopez and Jimmy Dykes), managed the only Chicago World Series winner in the past 94 years — but eight years is a long time for a high-pressure manager.

What comes next? For Guillen, it's fairly obvious:  He'll land in Miami as the manager of the Marlins. So will most of his coaching staff — but not pitching coach Don Cooper, who the White Sox are retaining. It will be interesting to see how Guillen fares without Cooper. The Sox have, during Guillen's run, had remarkable success at keeping their starting rotation healthy. Nobody knows how much credit to give anybody for such an accomplishment, but my guess is that Cooper and trainer Herm Schneider deserve more than Guillen.

Before hiring a new manager, the Sox should first decide: Stick with the current approach or blow the roster up and start over? I will be surprised if they take the rebuilding route, for two reasons:

  • General manager Kenny Williams doesn't appear to be wired that way and
  • The large financial commitments to Alex Rios and Adam Dunn (among others) aren't easy to dispose of.

Just as the Twins are committed to Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau as the core of their team, the Sox are anchored to Rios, Dunn and Paul Konerko.

Tony LaRussa has been linked to the Sox job for years, but the decision to keep Cooper probably rules LaRussa out; LaRussa isn't going anywhere without Dave Duncan as his pitching coach.

Dick-n-Bert, on the Twins telecast Monday night, touted Joey Cora, Guillen's bench coach, as a candidate; while I think Cora's a reasonable candidate elsewhere, Williams will probably prefer to sweep all of Ozzie's guys out the door.

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