I’m not sure what it is about the White Sox brain trust that leads to all of the high drama, but everything that goes on in Chisox land is, like Williams told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin yesterday, a soap opera. People are always talking about their feelings. More time it spent talking in vague terms about relationship dynamics and almost no time is spent talking about, you know, baseball. Did Ozzie screw up the lineup? Did Kenny make a bad deal? Who knows! It’s all about whether everyone is getting along.
Maybe less soap opera than reality show. Indeed, Merkin’s article is like a “Real World” confessional or something. Williams goes on and on about self-assessment and relationship maintenance. Jerry Resinsdorf talks about how Oney Guillen “had to make a decision to keep mouthing off or keep working here.” Ozzie says “Kenny has a right to think whatever he thinks.” All that’s missing is a shot before the commercial break of Ozzie, Kenny, and Jerry standing with their backs to each other, frustration evident on their faces, little show title logo appearing in the bottom corner. It’s a fascinating piece for what it is, but I never cease to be amazed at how little Kenny Williams is ever quoted about baseball decisions. It’s always about how he’s getting along with anyone.
The takeaway, though: I think Kenny Williams will quit before anyone is fired, and probably no later than the end of the year. There’s surprisingly little heat on Ozzie Guillen for how bad this team is doing. I say surprisingly, because it seemed pretty clear in the offseason that Guillen was strongly suggesting a lot of the roster moves like letting Jim Thome go and stuff. Obviously not the team’s biggest problem, but it seemed like the 2010 Sox were authored more by Guillen than Williams. But of course Guillen is a favorite of Jerry Reinsdorf, so maybe that explains a lot of it.
Either way, Williams sounds like he’s about had it. Not sure I can blame him. The South Side is full of so much . . . drama.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.