If Ozzie Guillen doesn’t feel wanted by White Sox, he might bolt
By JOE COWLEY email@example.com June 20, 2011 10:14PM
Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen argues with plate umpire James Hoye after getting tossed from the game in the 6th inning of the Cross Town Classic series pitting the Chicago Cubs at the Chicago White Sox Monday June 20, 2011 at US Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: June 21, 2011 10:42PM
Now we’ve got ourselves a real game of chicken.
And it’s becoming a dangerous one for the White Sox.
A team source told the Sun-Times over the weekend that before leaving for the recent road trip, manager Ozzie Guillen approached chairman Jerry Reinsdorf about his long-term status beyond the 2012 season and didn’t like what he heard.
Guillen didn’t want to get into a discussion about it before the start of the Cubs series, and Reinsdorf denied it even took place through a team spokesman, but Guillen did say there wouldn’t be any further attempts to reach out to the team until the end of the season — and that came with a maybe.
“I’m maybe going to ask about my situation [when the season is over], but I’m not going to ask for money or tell them I need a contract, anything like that,’’ Guillen said. “It’s up to them because if one of my employees comes up to me and says, ‘I need this,’ and I don’t want them back. Well, I’ll tell them, I either want you or if you want to leave, you can leave. I’m in that same boat. If they want me back, they can come to me and tell me what they want. If they don’t, well, we move on.’’
For the first time this season, Guillen has some chips on his side of the table.
The Sun-Times broke the story last year that the Florida Marlins inquired about speaking to Guillen about their managerial post but were told by the Sox that they needed to offer up a player as compensation just to have that discussion.
That was obviously met with a no-thanks, as the Marlins, willing to play the waiting game, gave Edwin Rodriguez a one-year deal for 2011. Meanwhile, the Sox announced in January that they had picked up the option on Guillen’s contract through 2012, seemingly putting the fish story to bed.
Guess what woke up?
Rodriguez stepped down Sunday, and Wilford Brimley of “Cocoon’’ fame was hired as interim manager — sorry, I’m now told that was 80-year-old Jack McKeon — and the Guillen-to-Florida rumors are alive and well.
That didn’t seem like an option in May, when it was obvious general manager Ken Williams had won the power struggle with Guillen last season, and Guillen purchased a new home in Chicago this winter. Then when Florida came out of the gate strong the first six weeks of the season, it seemed like Guillen was on an island.
He cleared up one of those misconceptions Monday.
“I love the city, my two oldest kids are here, we have more friends here than we do in Miami, but that’s the only reason we [bought the house here],’’ Guillen said. “Moving to Chicago gives me more time to stay in Venezuela because when we lived in Miami, we stayed in Miami. We didn’t even go home.
“I didn’t buy a house here because I thought I would manage for the rest of my life.’’
Guillen was asked about loyalty and sounded like a guy who was recently given bad news by his boss.
“F--- loyalty,’’ Guillen said. “Like Juan Uribe says, ‘Twenty-one million is more than $20 million.’ ’’
That’s right. He quoted former Sox infielder/class clown Juan Uribe.
Told he has a new bargaining chip with the Marlins job open again, Guillen said, “Yeah, but I don’t care. You know what’s funny? I don’t want to take advantage of that because I never have. That’s why I’m putting it on them. If they think I’m the guy here, the guy they want, then they will do something about it. If not, well, we’ll just leave it like that.’’
Memo to the chairman: You might want to get the checkbook out today because you’re one bad decision away from watching your baseball team go from “SoxTown’’ to slipping back to irrelevancy.
“I don’t have any comment on that stuff,’’ Williams said. “It’s a waste of time.’’
“We went through a lot of stuff last year, the same discussions, and I didn’t take anything away from that,’’ said Guillen, who didn’t find it a waste of his time. “I’m done worrying about what they’re thinking, what they want. Whatever happens will happen. It’s up to them to see how much love they want to give me. I’m fine.’’
He’s more than fine now, especially with options.
But is Guillen serious about moving on?
Well, he did quote Juan Uribe.