Ozzie Guillen: "I'd rather get fired than quit"

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Ozzie Guillen pondering something.jpgWe could probably just use Ozzie Guillen for a quote of the day every day, but we try to be fair to the other competitors.  Personally, I prefer fun Ozzie Guillen quotes that are accompanied by some surprising insight. For example, when asked about his future as the manager of the struggling White Sox, and whether he’d ever consider resigning, Ozzie said:

“I’m not a quitter. When I want to quit, I’ll do a lot of stupid things
and make sure they fire me and get paid.”

Which is funny. But then he followed it up with something that is pretty darn true:

“Because when you quit, it’s hard for you to find another job. Because when you quit, a lot of teams out there call you a
quitter or say you can’t handle yourself or can’t handle the heat or you
can’t handle losing.”

Mike Hargrove is a good recent example, but there are others. Hargrove was actually doing pretty well with a flawed Mariners team, took some months off to sharpen the saw, as they say, and can’t get another job even though he’s made it pretty clear he’d like one.  In contrast, if Ozzie penciled in Mark Buehrle as his DH for ten straight days and then got fired, he’d have a job to start next season, no question.

Not that this is a bad thing. As I’ve said numerous times, a manager’s primary job is to keep the team on an even keel. He can make all kinds of tactical blunders and pencil in all kinds of weird lineups, but as long as people aren’t fighting in the clubhouse and spreading poison in the press, the team is likely to play to its native ability, or at least fairly close to it. And one way for the clubhouse to go off the rails is for the players to question the testicular fortitude of the manager.

Which is what is likely to happen if a guy resigns from his previous job. Because to the players, one of the manager’s primary jobs is to take the heat so they don’t have to. If the guy quits when things go sideways, the players are left dangling. And this is true even if the manager is placed in an untenable position by, say, the press and the owners and everyone such that resigning makes all the intellectual sense in the world.

Ozzie knows all this. He knows a lot actually. If I ran a team I’d strongly consider hiring him. Even if he got fired from his last job for penciling in Mark Buehrle at DH for ten straight games.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.

The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.