Kenny Williams offered to step down
CHICAGO -- A day after Ozzie Guillen was let out of his managerial contract, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said Tuesday he has tried to give up his general manager chair multiple times.
Williams was not willing to leave like Guillen did after Monday night's game, but he did say he would take another role in the organization if it would help turn around the club's fortunes.
"I offered it because, listen, I'm a big believer in self-analysis and self-assessment," Williams said about his offer to turn over the GM job to somebody else. "I have a perspective that is one of needing, not wanting, needing this organization to be amongst the best in baseball. Another world championship puts you on the map, in my opinion, as an organization that stands and speaks for something. And that's what I wanted. That's what I still want out of my tenure here."
So when did Williams offer to step down and turn the role over to somebody like, perhaps, assistant general manager Rick Hahn?
"One year ago, six months ago, four months, three weeks ago, two weeks ago," he said, suggesting it happened up to five times.
Williams said he is aware that he also might be the reason there isn't another World Series title on the South Side of Chicago since the club ended an 88-year championship drought in 2005.
"If I'm the cog in the machine that is tripping us up, and my decisions are such now that they don't warrant, or my style doesn't warrant more opportunities to get that done, that's fine," Williams said. "I've been sitting in this chair for a long time anyway.
"I think I've told you guys before that there comes a time where everyone has an expiration date. I can accept that. But I'd still like to be a part of building something and hope that it can transition into that. If it doesn't, it doesn't, and you move on. But for now, I'm a White Sox and I want another banner up there."
Williams said that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf listened to the idea and "didn't like it very much." Yet Williams claimed he tried again.
"I felt compelled to reiterate again that I was completely prepared to vacate the seat," Williams said. "And I even expounded on that by telling him if, in fact, it was his feeling that Ozzie and I needed to work together, I had no problems along those lines. Do I wish certain things had been done differently? And handled differently? Absolutely. But I would have gone into it committed to making it work for the betterment of the Chicago White Sox."
For the past two seasons, the relationship between Williams and Guillen had soured, but Guillen surprisingly claimed that did not play into his decision to leave.
Guillen will accept a managerial job with the Marlins for four years, a source close to the situation told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine.
Williams confirmed Tuesday that the club had an agreement with another team for compensation for the manager. But he did not identify the players involved and declined to say the Marlins were the other team.
"It isn't a secret," he said. "Out of respect for the desires for that particular organization, they did not want to be named so I am simply honoring that request."
He also offered a diplomatic approach when asked if the Marlins were guilty of tampering in their courtship of Guillen.
"Listen, some things in this game you have to live in the gray area on," Williams said, "and that will just have to be one of them."
Williams also reiterated he has a short list of candidates to replace Guillen and has started to work on finding a successor. He said there is a top candidate and there might be a person involved in the postseason he wishes to interview, so it could drag on for a while.
He said former major league manager Buddy Bell, who is Chicago's director of player personnel, is not interested in the position.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper will take over for Guillen for the final two games of the season, not bench coach Joey Cora. Cora and Williams exchanged texts and had a phone conversation Tuesday. It was decided that Cora would not come to the park for the two games.
Cooper and Harold Baines, another friend of Guillen's, got new multiyear deals Tuesday as the White Sox made their first after-Ozzie moves.
"I don't believe what we've seen here and experienced here in the last eight years may ever happen again," Cooper said.
"I'm not talking about winning a world championship -- I'm hoping that is in the cards. But, interesting guy, certainly colorful. ... No matter who steps in, there's going to be a difference."
First baseman Paul Konerko said there was a sense of relief to finally have the Guillen-Williams situation resolved.
"When it comes to your job, there's only so much you can take of the stress level and everything else. When something like this happens, everyone is a bit relieved because they realize this isn't life and death," Konerko said.
"Ozzie's going to be fine, Kenny's going to be fine. Everybody's going to be fine. We're going to move on."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.