FIRE JOE MORGAN: Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie!


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Monday, July 03, 2006


Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie!


It didn't take long for Ozzie Guillen's phone to ring Sunday. Then again, the White Sox manager knew it was only the first wave of a potential weeklong tsunami.

"I already had a couple of phone calls, not nice ones,'' Guillen said. "A couple of teams called, but I could care less what they think.

Anybody want to take my bet that this guy will either be out of baseball or beaten to a pulp within the next five years?

"Whoever is not on this team, they have my number. They have my PR department's number. Whoever doesn't like it, play better next year.''

Oh, but see, Ozzie, I'm guessing that the reason they were angry, whoever they were, is because their guys did play better, and you chose your own players instead. For example, you kind of can't play better than Travis Hafner has, since he leads the AL in OPS, and yet you took Paul Konerko, even though the other 1B/DH type on your own team was already going, and even though Hafner's OPS is more than 100 points higher than Konerko's, and even though Hafner leads Konerko is every single meaningful (and most unmeaningful) categories.

I know Konerko is good, but you have two guys who play the same positions from the same team -- your team -- instead of, say, one guy from your team and one guy from another team who is better.

You also decided to take Bobby Jenks, who is good and has a lot of "saves," instead of Francisco Liriano or Jeremy Bonderman or even John Lackey (anyone seen his OPS against recently?). These people all arguably "played better" than your guy, but you took your guy, so they got upset.

Guillen had been promising all along that when it came time to put together the American League All-Star team, he would take as many Sox players as he could.

Oh. So, it had nothing to do with "playing better." He actually already announced that the fix was in. "You want to win the election?" asked Boss Tweed. "Campaign better!"

He also knew his decision would come under a lot of scrutiny. By the time the fan and player voting ended, Guillen was left with getting an AL-leading six Sox players into the July 11 midsummer classic in Pittsburgh -- none of whom was voted in by the fans as a starter.

Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye, designated hitter Jim Thome and pitcher Jose Contreras were selected through the players' vote. First baseman Paul Konerko, pitcher Mark Buehrle and closer Bobby Jenks were selected by Guillen. Jenks and Contreras are first-timers to the game.

"I don't like it,'' Guillen said of the difficulty he faced in putting the team together. "But I do hope that I get to do it again next year. There are a lot of rules that fans and players have to know about. The manager really ends up picking two guys.

You picked three guys. And they were all from your team.

"It's a shame to have your hands tied like that. I didn't even get three of my favorite players on the ballclub.''

Oh, the humanity! You didn't even get your three favorite guys on the team? Ye Gods! What has the Major League Baseball All Star Game come to when Ozzie Guillen only gets to have six of his own players on the team -- and not even three of his "favorites?"

By the way, if I were on his team and was not one of these "favorites," I would be pissed off right now.

Guillen said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and third baseman Joe Crede should have made the team. Pierzynski still has a chance as one of five AL candidates for one spot via Internet fan voting.

Pierzynski is actually deserving. He has a 2.8 WARP1 and a .281 EqA this year. Pudge is 3.0 and .263 (the higher WARP attributed to his defense). Iguchi...well, he has a .779 OPS, which isn't bad for a 2B (better than Loretta's, and he's starting). But he also has a 1.5 WARP1, thanks to some sub-par defense (-5 FRAA). He also has 66/23 K/Bb ratio. Which stinks. And a .257 EqA. Crede is a very good 3B, with a 3.5 WARP1 and .287 EqA.

But here's the problem. There's a guy named Travis Hafner. He plays for the Indians.

OPS: 1.084
WARP1: 4.6
EqA: .364 (!)

And there's a guy named Jason Giambi, who is a dirty dirty cheater, but he also has done this:

OPS: 1.054
WARP1: 3.4
EqA: .347

And as far as Iguchi, specifically, goes, there is a guy named Brian Roberts, who plays for the Orioles.

OPS: .787
WARP1: 2.2
EqA: .278

So, you can see that Crede and Iguchi are not quite--

"The one guy that I was really pushing [Crede] was the one guy that didn't make it,'' Guillen said. "I'm going to tell Joe, 'You can go, I'll stay. I've been to a few already.'''

Ozzie Guillen, career:

OPS: .625
K/BB: 511/.239
EqA: .229

I retroactively protest Ozzie's inclusion in all-star festivities. Unless he was there as a manager or coach, in which case, I doubly protest it.

Guillen, however, said he is not done campaigning to get Crede on the roster.

"It will be one week, and if someone gets hurt, I don't care -- pitcher, catcher, outfielder -- Crede is going,'' Guillen said. "That's the way it's going to be. If anything happens to those 32 guys on the field and they can't make it, Crede is going and I don't care who gets mad.''

Mad people will include: Hafner, Giambi, Verlander, Roberts, Bonderman, Robertson, Liriano, Mussina, Schilling.

To say nothing of Tremendous, dak, Murbles, Junior, Coach. Even Spinoza might freak a little, and he's a very calm guy.

Guillen had said two weeks ago that Contreras likely would be the AL starter, but with the right-hander now scheduled to start on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, Guillen already was coming up with a Plan B. Though Guillen wouldn't confirm it, Detroit Tigers left-hander Kenny Rogers is thought to be the front-runner.

Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God.

Rogers has a 61/25 K/BB ratio and a DIPS ERA over 4.00. Johan Santana is so much effing better than Kenny Rogers it's like they're playing different sports. Liriano is a million times better, and Ozzie won't even put him on the team.

Kenny Rogers is 31st in the majors in VORP. And he's going to start an all-star game.

While all six of the selections were excited to be going, there seemed to be equally as much sympathy for their teammates who didn't make the team.

"The system's flawed,'' Konerko said.

Yes it is. Travis Hafner isn't on the team. Nor is Giambi. I'm glad you said it.

"I've been on the short end of it before because of the way the voting works out. They try to do it the best way they can, and I'm not sure there's a perfect way to do it.

No, there isn't. Deserving people like Mike Mussina and Francisco Liriano don't get to go because Ozzie chose Bobby Jenks, who is fine, but not as good as Mussina or Liriano. This is really mature of you, Paul, to be saying this.

"Every year, there's so many guys that do well and there's just so many spots. It's just bad when it happens to somebody close to you or yourself, and that's the case with Joe. The numbers speak for themselves. He should be there."


Just to review, here's how Ozzie would like the 2006 AL All-Star Starting Line-Up to look:

C Pierzynski
1B Konerko
2B Iguchi
3B Crede
SS Who Cares
RF Dye
CF Who Cares
LF Who Cares
DH Thome

SP Contreras
RP Buehrle
Closer: Jenks

(Thanks to Ryan for the tip.)

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