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White Sox GM ‘just listening’ as Ozzie Guillen talks about future

Ozzie Guillen’s answer whether he deserves an extension: “Nope because I’m part this [losing] group.” | AP

Ozzie Guillen’s answer on whether he deserves an extension: “Nope, because I’m part of this [losing] group.” | AP

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Updated: November 25, 2011 12:20AM

White Sox general manager Ken Williams insists he is “just listening’’ to what manager Ozzie Guillen is saying about his seemingly uncertain future. Guillen has asked for a contract extension beyond 2012, but he said something else Friday that might perk Williams’ ears.

Asked if he would give himself an extension if he were a GM, Guillen was blunt.

“Nope, because I’m part of this [losing] group,’’ he said. “But you always knock on the door to see what you get. I don’t think they have to [give an extension], but my job is just to make sure to ask, you know what I mean?

“People keep asking me the same thing,’’ he said of his situation. “I’m like, if I’m back, good, if not, you move on. Whatever happens will be for the good of the organization. Not Jerry [Reinsdorf] or Ozzie or Kenny, for the organization.’’

But Williams admitted in so many words that the organization is in transition as he talked around the subject of Guillen’s future.

“We have one week left in the season, and I’m sure we’ll all get to all of that soon enough. No need to rush it,’’ Williams said. “It’s been a disappointing season. We had a club coming out of spring training we thought could do some special things and we haven’t gotten the consistent play we hoped for. We’ll just regroup at the end of the season and get after it again.’’

But when asked about the annual organizational meetings — when regrouping typically starts — he said they have “not yet’’ been set.

“We have to get on the other side of some things,’’ he said.

Those things include Guillen, his coaching staff, free agent Mark Buehrle and whether it’s rebuilding time or blending time.

Williams avoided discussing Buehrle, though he might have given an answer when he said it’s unlikely the Sox will add to the payroll next season.

“We have to listen to the marketing department and the sales department,” Williams said. “What [revenue] can we reasonably expect coming in? I do know we won’t have any room to add [payroll], I can tell you that. I wouldn’t even expect we stay the same [as this season]. I would expect we might have to trim a little bit. But again, that decision hasn’t been made.

“A lot goes into the mix, and today there are no answers yet.’’

That includes if he even has planned a sit-down with Reinsdorf and Guillen.

“I would rather do it privately,’’ he said. “Whether or not we have plans to sit down or when, where, how, what the ultimate result is going to be and all that, it’s speculation that is dangerous. And it’s unnecessary.

“Now I know that it hasn’t been exactly private, but everybody is better served if it is. It’s just a more respectful way to do business.’’

Williams made light of one of his comments suggesting everyone has “an expiration date.’’

“Not in my leadership,’’ he said with a smile, then added, “and I don’t know that anywhere else. Listen, last September we were in first place. We didn’t make the playoffs, but it’s not like we were scrubs.

“We have spent a lot of time in first place over the last decade. I’ll be the first to admit that the goals haven’t been accomplished or there would have been more banners in the rafters.

“Look at our history,’’ he said, pointing to the 2007 season, when the Sox lost 90 games but he asked for extensions for the coaching staff and some players, such as Jermaine Dye, who had down years. “I’m not one to easily give up the ship and change course or direction. I’m in the listening phase, and that’s all I can do. I’ll continue to be listening, and we’ll see where we end up. Ozzie’s got some ideas that I think he’s still developing. We’ll see.’’

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