Monday, October 03, 2011

My White Sox fantasy: Pete Mackanin

This has been a brutal year as a White Sox for no other reason than the immense expectations that greeted the season a few months ago. NOw the team is in tatters with Ozzie Guillen gone and the payroll full of mediocre performers locked into top salaries. What the Sox need is a total management overhaul. Yes, Ozzie needed to go, but so does Kenny Williams and from interviews it seems apparent that Williams will not be GM next year and likely will get bumped up the role of President of the organization. Fine, he may be an excellent businessman but his hand a picking talent has gone cold-- if ever it was hot in the first place.

Ozzie roaming SS in the 80's
 The emotions of seeing Ozzie go are decidedly mixed. His history with the White Sox is full of positives: a long career, beginning with Rookie of the Year (at left) and peaking with the only World Series win in Chicago for a century. But his demeanor grew as tiresome as was his handling of pitching staff puzzling.  In Ozzie's defense, was he responsible for trading Daniel Hudson and JJ Putz away for Edwin Jackson? Did Ozzie sign huge contracts for struggling Jake Peavey and the incomparably bad Adam Dunn? No and no. And I'll just mention briefly the brainstorm of releasing Aaron Rowand in favor of Brian Anderson in centerfield, and then doubling down by taking on Alex Rios' heavy contract as yet another questionable centerfielder. Maybe none of these transactions could have been foreseen to be miserable, but certainly at some point a GM needs to be held accountable for lack of results. Williams needs to do something else in or out of baseball. Booking National Anthem singers might be more within his skill set.
Pete Mackanin, Brother Rice HS alumnus

Here's my fantasy: The White Sox hire Terry Francona, not as field boss, but as General Manager. Nobody knows the talent around the league better than Tito and he might benefit from one layer of management away from the day-to-day machinations. And the new manager would be current Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin who has been tutored by greats such as Charlie Manuel and Joe Maddon. The former has been in baseball forever managing dozens of Hall of Famers and the latter has done nothing but bring some of the lowest payrolls of young players into the playoffs year and year. Mackanin is a Southside native who would be a solid addition and supplement Francona's stature. The White Sox ownership is dedicated to winning as evidenced by the consistently high payrolls, and Reinsdorf needs to put better management in place to make it all happen. Who knows, miracles could happen...maybe Dunn can hit .200 next year.

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