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.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2010 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.