Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams didn’t have any definitive answers before Friday’s game as to whether he or manager Ozzie Guillen would be around for the 2012 season. He did, however, acknowledge that he’d prefer that those decisions be made behind closed doors and not through the media.
“I would rather do it privately,” Williams said of meeting with Guillen and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in the offseason. “Whether or not we have plans to sit down, or when, where, how, what the ultimate result is going to be and all that, I think it's speculation that is dangerous. And it's unnecessary. Now I know that it hasn't been exactly private, but I think everybody is better served if it is. It's just a more respectful way to do business.”
Guillen said that while he has yet to sit down with Reinsdorf, he did expect them to have a conversation sometime in the near future. Guillen added that it was not his job to determine if any changes need to be made to a team that has underachieved to a 76-80 record, sitting 14 games out of first place.
That task lies in the hands of Williams and Reinsdorf, as they evaluate the team and make any necessary moves in the offseason. However, when asked if he would give himself an extension if he were in charge, Guillen, whose contract expires after next season, was quick to answer.
“Nope, because I’m part of this (underachieving) group,” Guillen said. “(President Barack) Obama asked for an extension, why shouldn’t I ask for one? (President) Obama wants four more years. You always knock on the door to see what you get. I don’t think they have to, but my job is just to make sure to ask, you know what I mean?”
In the past, Williams has said that in baseball there is always an expiration date when it comes to leadership. However, he didn’t seem to feel that was the case when it came to the job he’d done and wasn’t willing to abandon hope in others in the organization.
“Not in my leadership,” Williams said. “And I don't know that anywhere else. I mean, listen, last year in September we were in first place. We didn't make the playoffs last year but it's not like we were, you know, scrubs. We have spent over the last decade a lot of time in first place. I'll be the first to admit that the goals haven't been accomplished because if they had there would be more banners up there on the rafters.
“I'm not one to easily give up the ship and change course of direction. I'm in the listening phase right now and that's all I can do. I'll continue to be listening and we'll see where we end up as a result. Ozzie's got some ideas that I think he's still developing. We'll see.”
For his part, Guillen seems to be growing weary of all the speculation and is ready for his fate to be determined.
“People everywhere I go, they ask me the same questions and they got mad at me because I answered,” Guillen said. “Right now I’m at the point like. ‘hey man, whatever it is, it is.’ If I’m back here, good. If I’m not, good. That’s the way it is. Whatever happens, happens.”
Despite rampant rumors about both his and Guillen’s job status, Williams insisted that the team’s first priority this offseason is to determine who this team is and what they’ll have available in terms of resources to improve the club. The White Sox increased their payroll by nearly $25 million prior to the season.
“I do know that we won’t have any room to add (to payroll). I can tell you that,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t expect that we add. I wouldn’t even expect we stay the same. I would expect we might have to trim a little bit. But again the decision hasn’t been made. I said the same thing last year and we added.”