Everything is wonderful in White Sox land now that they’re the hottest team in baseball and leading the AL Central, but just in case things get ugly again general manager Ken Williams is pretty confident he could beat up manager Ozzie Guillen.
Appearing as a guest on “Pardon the Interruption” yesterday, Williams was asked about the reported shouting match he had with Guillen back in June and responded:
It was really blown out of proportion. Come on, we are about to come to blows? That’s not realistic. Ozzie would never fight with me. He knows better than that.
At which point all the Chicago reporters sprinted to the White Sox’s clubhouse to get Guillen’s reaction to the “he knows better than that” part. As usual, his response was amusing:
I don’t see it as bad. I don’t know if Kenny knows me for that long. He said 30 years? He knows me longer than my wife knows me. I think it was good. The one thing about it, I never deny I’m going to fight with him. I never fight with anyone because I don’t know how to fight. I’m not a fighter.
Did something happen? Of course it happened. Everyone knows. But in the meanwhile, we separate those things from one time to another. I separate my problems on the field and off the field. It’s the only way this thing is going to work–if we pull from the same end of the rope, and we do. Even if we don’t agree with each other, at the end of the day, we do pull from the same rope.
Asked what owner Jerry Reinsdorf thinks of the tension between manager and general manager, Guillen said:
Jerry is a businessman. He don’t give a s— if me and Kenny get along. If this team wins the World Series and we end up in jail because we are killing each other, Jerry would go for that. As long as they win, that’s Jerry’s business.
So, to recap: Williams thinks he could take Guillen, but we’ll probably never know because Guillen isn’t a fighter. But if something did happen, Reinsdorf would be fine with it as long as the White Sox kept winning. Also, rope pulling. Oh, and Guillen managed the hell out of last night’s game against the Twins, going 4-for-4 calling hit-and-runs in an 8-7 victory.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.