Monday at the Winter Meetings
Monday, December 6, 2010
One of the great things about having the Winter Meetings at the Swan & Dolphin Hotels in Orlando is that the Dolphin features a great lobby where much of the action of the next few days takes place. When I arrived last night at 11 pm, the place was buzzing with conversation. You see media, scouts, club reps, agents, job seekers, baseball fans, etc. hanging around talking.
One of the interesting things to witness is the game of telephone that ensues when a rumor starts at one side of the lobby and runs all the way around and then back again. Each winter meeting features its own run-away rumor.
There are meetings taking place during the day. Our PR group met from 8:45 pm until 3 pm today discussing a variety of issues.
Former pitcher Sam McDowell spoke to our group about the Baseball Assistance Team and the support that exists for people in the baseball family who may be in need or in need of support or counseling.
After lunch, there was an hour, Social Media for Dummies session, that I, appropriately, sat in on to hear what I didn’t know. As it concluded, one smart aleck asked for Sam McDowell’s phone number.
Manager Ozzie Guillen visited Orlando for today to meet with the media and do the tour of national television and radio shows. He is heading to his native Venezuela later to check on his friends and family who have been caught in the recent flooding. Guillen said up to 30-40 people were staying at him home while waiting for the waters to subside.
A few of Ozzie’s comments from today:
Q. You guys sign Konerko yet?
OZZIE GUILLEN: I just got here. I mean, I think everybody knows in Chicago and White Sox fans that they’re talking, they’re trying. Like I say, it’s the type of thing that you do to look great, if you don’t, you’re going to face people talking and making comments and why not. But that’s why I say I keep saying the last thing I want to do in my life is be the GM. Because that decision you’re going to make there, sometimes you have to think with your brains, not with your heart. Sometimes when you think with your heart, you make a lot of mistakes.
We’re all waiting, everybody in Chicago, myself, everybody, players, front office, fans, we want it. Then a lot of things go a different way. I don’t know if it’s about money, I don’t know if it’s about years, exactly I don’t know the details. But they’re talking to him. Hopefully, hopefully, they make the decision he make the decision, they make the decision right away. And we set the thing up and see what happens.
Q. Have you spoken to Paul since the end of the season?
OZZIE GUILLEN: I didn’t talk to anyone. I just talked to A.J. a couple of days ago. And I know, I mean, two years with you again? Why did they do it to me? (Laughing). That’s the only player I talked to.
Besides that, all you guys know when the season’s over, I try to stay away from the game the most I can and that.
Q. If Konerko signs, there may not be a lot of money for a bullpen. Are you comfortable with that?
OZZIE GUILLEN: We talk about it, and I think the guys that we have in our rotation, they give off better quality innings this year than they did last year. You know what I mean? I expect them to do that. I expect all the starting pitchers go have a better year and go deeper.
You’re always going to find somebody in the bullpen to help. But with the lineup we’re going to have, if everybody stays healthy, I think we’re going to have a good lineup. I mean, the question is always asked. My biggest concern or my biggest thing is to try to keep Carlos Quentin healthy and get there and get the at bats he wants to be, and try to keep him in the lineup. Because, like I say, we’ve got those guys in the lineup most of the time and it can be a very dangerous offensive team.
Q. What are your thoughts on Jayson Werth’s contract?
OZZIE GUILLEN: If I was his agent or his wife, that would be nice (laughing). That’s very nice. I mean, I think this guy I don’t follow the National League that much, but I looked at his numbers yesterday, pretty good positioning. I think I like players that are good athletes. He’s a great athlete. He’s a great outfielder, he runs the base well. He’s got home runs.
One thing about it, he’s taking his own lead. You don’t have to start over and find the lead and how it’s going to be. And God bless him. Those kids didn’t have any problem going to college, making a lot of money.
Q. You still feel like even if you have Dunn and Konerko, who are RBI guys with not much speed, do you still like the overall athleticism you have on this team with Rios, Beckham, Pierre, Ramirez, that kind of thing?
OZZIE GUILLEN: Well, we’ve got a hole, I don’t know. We’ve got the kid at third base, Mo, he’s a pretty good athlete. He can run the base. I’m talking about speed. I don’t talk about Juan Pierre, 60 stolen bases. I want the guys to run around and make things happen. You know what I mean? We cannot wait.
I just talked to Dunn, I said, listen, I’m going to tell you the same stuff I’m going to tell everyone. You’re not coming here to save the White Sox; you’re coming here to help us to get what we want to get. A lot of guys when they’re making money, oh, he’s a free agent. Believe me. I told Dunnn, I said, they love you right now, but you know you haven’t had your first strikeout yet, and you haven’t missed a ball at first base yet.
In Chicago, it’s not an easy place to play. In Chicago, I say the city’s very nice. But in the city, they know who you are and what you do. He’s a big boy; he can’t hide it. And they’re going to let you know how good you are or they you’re going to let you know how bad you are right away. I told the people, don’t worry about it, he’s just coming here to help us, not to push any of the spotlight like I’m the savior.
Q: If Konerko comes back, do you consider yourselves the favorites to win the division?
OZZIE GUILLEN: No. No, because I believe in pitching, and I believe that we pitch better. Right now the way we pitched last year, it’s hard for me to say that.
The year before in spring training I was very excited because of the rotation we have. We didn’t pitch that well, and Peavy, he got hurt. Now the rotation for us is pretty, pretty excited. We’re going to have a good ballclub, yes, because I think the players that we have and having Dunn in the middle of the lineup, that will help.
In the meanwhile, it’s not about those two guys. It’s about 25, maybe 32, 30, to put it together.
Who won the World Series last year or this year? The people nobody even thought about they’re going to be there. That’s the message to baseball. You do not need to be big boys up there to win it. You just have a good team, everything clicks for you, play good at the right time and that’s it. I think everything starts about injuries. You stay healthy, you’re going to have a chance to win.
(Quotes courtesy of MLB)
As reported, Kenny Williams intends to meet Monday with Paul Konerko’s representatives to discuss the possibility of a deal with the free agent.
To listen to a Q&A with Williams that was shot on Friday, click here.
To longtime baseball executive Pat Gillick on being selected for induction to Baseball’s Hall of Fame next July.
Remember, for more up-to-date info from the winter meetings, follow us on Twitter @InsideTheSox at this link.