View Full Version : Baseball Prospectus Views on White Sox transactions

11-25-2003, 01:34 PM

Purchased the contracts of 1B-L Ross Gload from Charlotte and RHP Enemencio Pacheco from Birmingham (Double-A). [10/15]

Exercised their option on RHP Esteban Loaiza for 2004. [10/31]

Named Ozzie Guillen manager. [11/3]

Named Dave Wilder special assistant to the general manager. [11/5]

Exercised their option on SS-B Jose Valentin for 2004. [11/6]

OK, it's easy to get worked up over the worst thing to happen since Hawk Harrelson was handed the reins, but let's remind ourselves of the good things that happened here. First, they've got Jose Valentin and Esteban Loaiza locked up, and while they're not cheap, barring getting into some really expensive bidding in the Tejada or Colon auctions, they're not in a bad place. Second, Dave Wilder's a bright guy who seemed to have been oversloughed in the usual nonsense of Milwaukee; with the Cubs he'd been a good executive, with the good sense to disagree on bad ideas like the Karchner trade. If anything, Wilder might be more qualified for Kenny Williams' job than Kenny Williams, but you could have said the same thing about Dan Evans before he left in the wake of the Williams hiring.

But as for the bad news...it's hard to see Guillen turning out well as a manager, or the Sox profiting from hauling in another Marlins coach on the basis of how perky he was during the interview. Some statheads have made the point that Guillen won't manage well because he didn't walk well or was almost the definition of a dumb baserunner, but it's a little more fundamental than that. Guillen didn't bunt well either, but he always tried, so people considered him an effective little ball player. But he wasn't, neither being a Brett Butler or a Doug Flynn, and worse yet, he didn't seem to notice, instead devoting himself to self-pitying whines about how fans were dopey for preferring Cal Ripken over lights the likes of himself, or Felix Fermin.

But wait, Ozzie was always considered a smart player, being credited for doing the sneaky sort of stuff that a Leo Durocher might do, right? Well, again, not really. If you try the hidden ball trick day after day, or think it's cute to go for face-level swipe tags, or always trying to fake runners by pretending to go for pop-ups, it ceases to surprise anybody. And years before he was finally injured in his knee-wrecking collision with Tim Raines, he'd been a menace to outfielders on pop-ups he wasn't particularly good at flagging down.

Ozzie's problems are really a bit more simple: he didn't know he had limitations, and he didn't adapt for them. Is this really what you want in a manager? Add in his incessant bitching about Joey Cora's martyrdom--Ozzie was the last person in the Chicago area to notice Ray Durham's a hell of a player--and generally alternating between being petty and bullying younger players, or his aspirations to get into a catfight with Frank Thomas, and you have to wonder whether this is really a leader of men. Ozzie was actually good at one thing, which was being like Andy Van Slyke when it came to entertaining writers and understanding that they can help you craft an image that, along with the happy coincidence of being a shortstop named Ozzie, managed to fool some of the people some of the time that he was a player with considerably more value than he actually had.

The real question isn't whether Ozzie will turn out badly as a manager, it's trying to sort out why he was tabbed. Kenny Wiliams inherited a talent-laden winner, and he's failed to deliver. So rather than generate any enthusiasm, why not buy it off the rack? Ozzie's notionally popular and has been generously treated by the local media, so why not name him and acquire some small measure of grace for a team that may well be the most disappointing franchise in the majors over the last several years? As cockamamie stunts go, there might be some logic to it, but it's a pathetic reflection on how little has been achieved from such a promising position.

11-25-2003, 01:39 PM

That's really depressing to read.

11-25-2003, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by wsgdf

That's really depressing to read.

I get depressed every time I think about Ozzie managing next year...

Ozzie's problems are really a bit more simple: he didn't know he had limitations, and he didn't adapt for them. Is this really what you want in a manager?

Two things that Ozzie stated in his acceptance speech still keep running through my mind: "playing the game the right way" & the part about not tolerating "selfish players".

Evidently the Prospectus people have the same question about what Ozzie thinks the "right way" is, exactly.

I still remember how Guillen left the team: refusing to give way to someone younger with more range (not that Mike Caruso was a great replacement, but it was obvious that the Sox needed to do something at short). His attitude at the end of his time with the Sox struck me as extremely selfish.

Does some one out there remember the exact quote? I vaguely remember Britt Burns (?) saying that he thought Tony LaRussa's best trait was that, having to fight for a job as a player, he was always looking for an edge and that carried over when he became a manager. That is something that only someone who knows his limitations would think to do.

We'll just have to hope that Ozzie has learned a lot from McKeon, LaRussa, Cox & Co.

11-25-2003, 03:25 PM
The problem seems to be that everyone feels the need to write an article about what Ozzie will be like as a manager when no one really has a clue. He's never managed before at any level so I fail to see the basis for evaluating him as a manager.

I for one will admit to being completely unimpressed with Ozzie's style as a player but I fail to see the assurance that his managing will turn the entire club into players in his mold. The organization should have some philosiphies it imparts and he should accept input from his coaching staff. Furthermore, there's just no reason to necessarily believe that players' playing careers have a strong effect on their ability to manage. Ozzie is responsible for 25 different types of players play, not just for one small, quick short stop. His ability to adapt to different types of players is in no way foreshadowed by his playing career.

Finally, Ozzie's number one task as manager is to motivate this club. It doesn't take rocket science to determine that this club underachieved the past few seasons and that at least some of that underachievement is probably the result of a poor mental approach to the game at times. If Ozzie can do a 180 in that regard the possibility exists that he could wreak a lot of havoc on this club as far as in game decisions go yet still improve the club as a whole.

11-25-2003, 04:00 PM
Can we let him manage one game before we rip on him? My gosh.

These are the same people booing the Eagles pick of Donovan McNabb pick in the '99 draft.

11-25-2003, 04:21 PM
I don't think these are the same people. That was a bunch of Eagle fans if I recall.

11-25-2003, 04:24 PM
Originally posted by wsgdf
I don't think these are the same people. That was a bunch of Eagle fans if I recall.

Yeah Philly fans are idiots. They bitch and complain all the time and aren't as knowledgable as they think.

11-25-2003, 05:54 PM
here's an analogy. i don't know how much it fits here, but who knows . . .

I have a friend who i play golf with a lot. he's kind of a free swinging wild player who really has a lot of fun playing and tries to do stupid impossible shots fairly frequently, and when his swing gets out of control, he is tremendously wild. However, when he's golfing with someone who's new to golf and is learning, he's real good at teaching them--both with swing mechanics and how to play certain shots. His own game still basically stinks, and he never seems to fulfil his own potential as a player, but when he teaches other people, they really do get better.

not saying that that would be the case with guillen, but you never know.

11-25-2003, 06:09 PM
Wow that is pretty revealing article, but i am not an OG fan.

Foulke You
11-25-2003, 06:27 PM
This article seems kind've ridiculous to me, I think evaluating Ozzie the player has little to do with how he is going to manage. We will just have to wait and see.

11-25-2003, 06:48 PM
just how many good managers were really good players?

.............. NOT MANY!

11-25-2003, 08:07 PM
I thought Ozzie was failrly popular ON & OFF the field.

In general, I've never had any complaints about Ozzie.

It is disturbing to see people pick on him before giving him a chance.

11-25-2003, 08:11 PM
I thought it was a great article, very perceptive. Now Ozzie is more than welcome to prove his doubters wrong.

11-25-2003, 08:13 PM
I don't give a darn if Ozzie was Babe Ruth - the bottom line is that he hasn't managed an inning and therefore we have no relavant data. For example, a great coach like Joe Torre is a great coach because of what he's done from the dugout- it has nothing to do with his playing ability or playing style. The same goes for proven bad coaches and the same goes for Ozzie.

11-26-2003, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by nodiggity59
I don't give a darn if Ozzie was Babe Ruth - the bottom line is that he hasn't managed an inning and therefore we have no relavant data.

Which means we have to give him a chance and wait till we judge him until after he manages a few games.

11-26-2003, 10:29 AM
Originally posted by nasox
Which means we have to give him a chance and wait till we judge him until after he manages a few games. That's true but based what I've seen I'm not the least bit optimistic. Like I said before he's welcome to prove all the doubters wrong, including me.

Lip Man 1
11-26-2003, 10:38 AM
I agree that Ozzie has to be given a chance before anyone can say anything.

I also agree though that a manager can't win if he doesn't have the talent. It remains to be seen what talent the Sox provide Ozzie come late February

Ozzie's ability to win is in direct proportion to the guys he gets on the field.

Joe Torre was a bust for the most part in Atlanta (except for 1982), St. Louis and the Mets. He didn't have a lot of talent.

Now he's a big winner in New York because in part, he has good players on the field at nearly every single position.


11-26-2003, 10:56 AM
but it remains to be seen whether or not he'll cut it as manager. The most important part of the article is the point of how much of a FARCE KW is as a GM. He's done nothing. NOTHING. Will he EVER do something to get us to the playoffs? I mean, actually make a few moves that consequently put us there, instead of dividing us (see not firing JM, bringing on royce clayton, david wells, etc.... on and on)


11-26-2003, 11:10 AM
....I guess we can put the author in the "I don't like the Ozzie hiring" side of the ledger!

11-26-2003, 08:49 PM
I do like Ozzie, always have and still do as manager-designate. Maybe he didn't do everything perfectly as a player (though every time I see Ichiro hit I think maybe I underestimated Ozzie's hitting style.) One of the interesting things about the book "Moneyball" is the story of how Billy Beane learned so much from his own flaws as a player that he now advocates the opposite kind of player.

11-26-2003, 09:04 PM
No one is evaluating Ozzie as a manager just yet however people are fairly evaluating Ozzie's qualifications to be a manager; and you can't just wave the "we haven't see him manage yet" flag at that. For example if Kenny Williams decided to sign me to a major league contract and run me out at second base to replace Robby Alomar how many of you on WSI would be saying "well we haven't seen Andrew play second base yet, we have to give him a chance"? No one would say that. I don't have a single trait that makes me qualified to be a major league second baseman, with the possible exception of loving baseball.

Ozzie does not appear to be a qualified manager because he does not appear to have many of the qualities necessary in a manager. One thing Chris Kahrl says is Ozzie didn't know how to best utilizie his strengths and minimize his weakness as a player so it's doubtful Ozzie will know how to do the same as a manger. I think thats a fair and accurate criticism. Why do we have to see him manage first to make that criticism?

11-26-2003, 10:14 PM
This hiring was nothing more then the usual JR 'managers-can-be-had-cheap' strategy. Yet another reason to sell the team. Who knows how Oz would do 'til some game's are played. And it is fair to compare his playing career with maybe handling a different kind of pressure as a manager. It also smells like Jr and KW are either trying to motivate Frank or piss him off to make him leave. After Oz is fired hire Carlton Fisk.

11-27-2003, 05:43 AM
Interesting ... Almost everyone seems to be commenting about Ozzie in this article. I thought that the most critical statements were reserved for KW.