Another day, another story about Ozzie, Kenny, and the White Sox soap opera. Two days ago Ozzie said he wanted a contract extension, yesterday he said it again, and now we have a response from Kenny Williams.
David Haugh from the Tribune had a one on one with Williams last night, leading to this column. In it the biggest news is that Kenny and Jerry both say they want Ozzie to stay, but also want him to honor his contract.
It won’t come down to Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf having to choose between baseball sons Williams and Guillen, the second-longest tenured GM-manager partnership in baseball. It will come down to Guillen choosing between the Sox and managerial free agency.
Your move, Oz. Be careful what you wish for.
“I am not planning on making a managerial change before next season,” Williams told me over the phone. “That said, with one more year left on his contract and another (for 2012) with the team option, if those are terms he’s no longer happy with, (Jerry and) I understand and respect him enough to let him out of his deal.”
Now, why these talks can’t happen in private instead of through the media is beyond me, but we can let that go for now.
It sounds like Ozzie has to make a tough choice to make, and that his bosses have positioned themselves perfectly. Ozzie either can stay with the team he loves, but on the last year of his contract, or he could leave the team and look for a new position. The amount of MLB managerial openings is going to unprecedented, giving Ozzie plenty of options.
Ozzie would enter the managerial market as one of the top available names, if not the top. He has plenty of experience, a known track record, and would no doubt have his pick of three or four jobs. Florida’s owner wants a big name celebrity to manage his team, and Ozzie is about as big a name as there is.
It would be hard to fault Ozzie if he wants to seek long term security elsewhere, rather than have a one year deal here. If it comes down to that, I have a hard time believing Ozzie will be in Chicago much longer. Ozzie wants his ego stroked, he wants the world to know that he’s somewhere he’s wanted, and right now Chicago might not be that place.
For now, Kenny says he thinks Ozzie is still the best man for the job, and Ozzie says he wants to stay in Chicago forever. Their other words and actions suggest otherwise though, and we will find out where each one stands soon enough.