|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
Ozzie Guillen hopes 2011 won't be his final season with the White Sox. In fact, Guillen said Saturday he expects his managerial tenure in the city to extend well beyond the present decade.
"I expect to be back here next year," Guillen told ESPN 1000's "Talkin' Baseball" on Saturday. "I expect to be back here for a long time. I think I'm shooting for the moon, but I think my expectations are pretty high, always will be. I think there's no doubt in anybody's mind how much I love this organization, how much I love this city. ... [There were] two things that [were] my goals when I was a kid, that was to play in the big leagues and manage in the big leagues, and I did it with this organization. I expect to be back just not next year, I expect to be back here the next 20 years."
With one year remaining on his contract and the team languishing around the .500 mark in spite of an offseason spending spree, much speculation has centered around Guillen's future with the White Sox. Rumors of his possible departure haven't been helped by his hot-and-cold relationship with White Sox general manager Kenny Williams. Guillen may have further complicated the situation by recently saying he wanted the club to extend his deal beyond the 2012 season.
So has that off-the-field drama had an adverse impact on the White Sox this season?
"No, not at all," Guillen said. "People think that's going to be an excuse because [we're] not playing the way we should be playing. Well, that's their opinion. ... Those guys out there, they're very professional. ... Believe me, I say it very clear all the time, if anything's distracting the players, I try to stay away from it. [The media] can say what they want to say. They can have their own opinion. But I'm [the] manager of this ballclub. I'm with them every day. I look at their face every day. I talk to them every day about it. And the last thing they mention is what's going on off the field."
Guillen isn't the only franchise fixture whose future with the White Sox has been called into question. Mark Buehrle, who has spent all 11 of his big league seasons with the club, will be a free agent when the 2011 season ends. Based on what Buehrle said when he inked a four-year extension in 2007, some have speculated he might consider retirement. Guillen doesn't think that will be the case.
"Oh, he's staying," Guillen said. "Mark Buehrle will make a lot of money next year no matter [whom] he plays for. & I talk to him every day and he never mentions [to] me anything about retirement. I think this kid's got a lot left to give [to] baseball. I think this kid can help a lot of big league ballclubs. Believe me, I don't think he's retiring."