Ozzie Guillen always seems to make things interesting. While the quotable manager has experienced his fair share of success in Chicago, it appears the failures of the 2011 season will lead to Ozzie’s exit from the Windy City. According to sources, the White Sox have released Guillen from his contract; allowing him to pursue other job opportunities. There are already reports that Guillen will return to the Florida Marlins in exchange for two minor leaguers. Guillen’s departure marks the end of an era in Chicago — one that included a World Series championship. For the White Sox, this move is the first of many that should highlight a very interesting off-season.
Guillen’s propensity for attracting controversy overshadows his success as a manager. While Guillen may be leaving the organization on poor terms, he will likely go down as one of the most successful managers in White Sox history. As their manager, Guillen led the White Sox to 678 wins — good for third all-time among White Sox managers. Under Guillen’s leadership, the White Sox carried a .523 winning percentage. Guillen also led the team to its first World Series championship in eighty-eight years. Of course, the stats don’t tell the entire story.
While Ozzie’s mouth has gotten him into trouble in the past; a schism with General Manager Kenny Williams seems to be the real reason for Guillen’s departure. Guillen and Williams have never had the greatest relationship, but things reportedly became irreparable earlier this season — leading some Chicago beat writers to report that Guillen and Williams haven’t spoken in over a month. With Guillen out of the picture, other members of the White Sox coaching staff should start updating their resumes.
Thankfully, Pitching Coach Don Cooper reportedly has a deal in place to remain with the organization. In his time with the White Sox, Cooper has established himself as one of the best pitching coaches in the game. His propensity for turning around young starters — often by teaching them a cutter — has earned him a strong reputation around the league. He’s also been a major part of managing the White Sox excellent bullpen the past couple of seasons. While Cooper’s name might not register with the casual fan, his loss would be arguably much more damaging for the White Sox. If Williams and Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf find a replacement that can work with Cooper, the White Sox should continue to churn out a solid pitching performances.
Under Guillen’s watch, the White Sox experienced a very solid run of success. At the same time, it was clear that Guillen’s antics had finally run their course in Chicago. Changes needed to be made, and Guillen was the most likely candidate to take the fall. If the White Sox are able to acquire something for Guillen — and retain Cooper — there’s very little downside to the move. Guillen may go down as one of the most successful managers in White Sox history, but he’s far from irreplaceable. White Sox fans should celebrate the past, but this move will be beneficial to the team’s future.
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