Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

The day after - Sox players sound off about trades

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1396566633_43565120bd.jpgMINNEAPOLIS - The idea that the White Sox had perched themselves atop the Metrodome, waving the white flag on the 2009 season in surrender late Monday night, was an easy conclusion to draw from the outside.
Not necessarily an accurate one, however, according to manager Ozzie Guillen.
He would know. After all, Guillen was a member of the original South Side surrender, back in 1997, when the Sox seemingly gave up on the year just 3 ½ games behind Cleveland, sending out pitchers Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez to the Giants at the July 31 trade deadline.
"Not really,'' Guillen responded, when asked if this was White Flag II. "I think right now we can cover that hole [left by Jim Thome]. We got [Mark] Kotsay, we got [Paul] Konerko, Anybody in the outfield. Are we going to cover the home runs and on-base percentage, no. That's not going to be easy. We're going to be a different club without him. Everyone has to step it up a notch and play better. But White Flag? No. A lot of people say that.''
And in sending Jose Contreras to Colorado, the Sox sent out a pitcher that was likely not going to see the mound the final month.
That doesn't mean there wasn't a feeling of loss on Tuesday afternoon. Not of the baseball players that were traded, but of the men they were in the clubhouse.
"Not to see Jim, not see Jose, it's definitely different,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "You get to seeing Jose walking around with a big smile on his face, Jim walking around doing his workout, talking pitchers with him. We have to move on, the whole organization has to move on now and see if we can get things going.''
Easier said than done.
"Forget all the ERA and wins and losses and all that other stuff,'' team captain Paul Konerko said of Contreras. "As players, we will remember a guy who was supposed to come back in June or July [from a ruptured Achilles] and he came back April 1 for his team. A lot of other people will forget that and maybe already have, but players won't.
"As far as Jim goes, we had a lot of fun on and off the field, especially off spending a lot of time. There's nothing I wish I would have done, plus we still are going to see each other. It's not a death in the family, one of those deals.
"We had some good years here. We won the division and saw him hit his 500th. There were a lot of special times. I'm not quite sure it really has set in yet. I'm still looking for him to come walking through the door, one of those deals.''
As far as picking up the pieces on the field, Carlos Torres will start in Contreras' spot on Thursday, while Jermaine Dye was the DH Tuesday night.
"If you hang around long enough in this game, you see that thing come and go,'' Guillen added. "Some times you lose people you really love and sometimes you keep people you don't like. But those two people are special people.''

More comments on the two trades:

Jermaine Dye
"It is what it is. It's a crazy game. You're never too surprised with things that happen in this game anymore. Unfortunately, it happened to a guy like Jim. We wish him well and hopefully, we can have a good month of September and see what happens.''

"Yeah, you could see [Thome was emotional] a little bit. He was down when he was first told, but once he realized what was going on and with him having a chance to probably go to the World Series again, put something on his resume that he's never done, winning a World Series, he felt it would be best for his family.''

A.J. Pierzynski
"Yeah he was great. Getting to play with Jim for four years, getting to know him on a personal level was awesome. He was one of the best people I ever played with. I'll miss having him around, I'll miss his face every day, I'll miss seeing him work his tail off every day to play a game. He'll be missed, but at the same time we have wish him the best and move on. We have to try and right the ship here the last month now.''

Paul Konerko
"I mean definitely tough to see [Thome] go. Great teammate, great guy. He was everything he was cracked up to be before he got here. It was great. As far as me with him, it's going to fall short by this month and hopefully next year. That's a pretty good amount of time as well. We did some good thing. I could always say I played with him, like everyone else in here. You play with a legend like that, it was definitely a privilege. That's the business we are in.

"Any time you win a World Series with a guy [like Jose Contreras] and I just remember all the good things with him. He always took the ball and I'll remember the fact that he came back way ahead of schedule this year. Maybe that wasn't the best thing that he should have done. I don't know that he got off to the best start he could get off to, but that was all in the name of him trying to be there for his team.''

Ozzie Guillen
"It's hard. That's the way baseball is. I think nobody in baseball got a chance to be a Hall of Famer, be so humble and naïve and nice and good teammates and good team guy, you name it, with Jim. I think Jim, class act, baseball people, Jim Thome should be in the top 3. In my book might be number 1. But I know there are a lot of nice people there, but Jim Thome represents the White Sox's organization very well and makes a lot of people proud to wear this uniform and a lot of great things here, on and off the field. That's what's important. And every time he put his uniform for us, he played the game right. He taught kids how to play the game right, and everyone said that every time about him. Those guys, the new kids, the rookie guys growing up and watching this guys, and prepare themselves every day to compete, they should learn a lot. No matter how many days you stay or spend here or years you spend here, this man was outstanding. And the last thing that should happen to him is that he goes to the Hall of Fame. I hope and pray Jim Thome has what he wants - and that's a championship ring. I know it was a tough decision for him to make. I'm glad his wife helped him to make that decision. We're really excited about him to do that, because it's something he always wanted.''

"Great memories [for Contreras]. And some bad memories. But good and great. I don't think we went to the World Series without him. That was a big part in our ballclub that year. Tremendous human being. Great guy. The reason he was there that long or starting every five days was because how great of a guy he was and the respect and love we gave him. And I think Jose earned that. The way he worked, the way he went about his business. He went a long way to what he was for us. I wish them both the best. Both have a good chance to win. There's nothing better than when somebody wants you. A lot of people saying we're offering people around there. Just to let you know, the guy who told me was Mark Buehrle, when I had the message from Kenny. When somebody wants you, especially two veteran guys, I think that's nice when they still want you.''

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10 Comments

did JD say anything about dedicating tonights 0 for 4 to Thome, or is he saving that for tomorrows 0 for 4?

rios looks like a pitcher when he's batting...

if ozzie puts pods in center one more time i'm going to spontaneously combust

if the white sox bring greg walker back next year they may as well change his job title to assistant mascot, because that would pretty much be an admission that is all they see the position of hitting coach as

that is all

Don't really see how it's Walker's fault guy's can't recongize outside breaking balls...

How come there was no posting about teammates' warm regards for the "Dirty Thirty" when he left? I'm sure it would not have taken a lot of time to write.

Visit my site http://jojoj921.wordpress.com/ for my latest post on the Sox. I love Jim Thome but his once in 20 at bats does not get it done. Ozzie need a vacation. The guys in the minors need to play. 'Nuff said.

Hedley, I love your point about Greg Walker. I have a question for everyone including fans, players and management. How do you measure the performance of a hitting coach? I maintain there either is no measurement whatsoever or else Greg Walker is here for one reason, well, maybe two reasons: he was with the club when they won a World Series and he works hard.

What has he done, seriously? Other than the homeruns in the past and one year--2005--when hits were timely, (that year was won mostly with pitching and defense, by the way) he hasn't done anything that should put him even so high as the middle of the pack!

This guy gets what seems like a lifetime pass and I can't see a shred of evidence why. His teams have awful approaches to the plate on a routine basis, they fall into 0-2 counts as much as any team I've seen, they don't bear down and continue to swing for the fences when simply getting on base, hitting to the right side, or making contact is the answer. They almost always fail against "no name" or "just called up" pitchers.

I would love to pitch to the Chicago White Sox. Yeah, once in a while, if I lost my control, they'd beat my brains in, but it would be few and far between. Greg Walker must go!

Who is the best hitting coach? Is the Yankee HC, whoever he is, great just because he works with ARod and Jeter, etc. I don't see any experts even trying to rank them.

Obviously the performance of the players is the only indicator. Failure means the HC is no good, or that the players don't listen to him. Beyond the numbers, you look at approach and game plans. In the case of the Sox, it is definitely not working. Again, either the plan is no good or the players don't listen. If failure means Walk must go, so be it, as much as I like the guy (no, I don't know him personally).

There are spome other factors. Personally, I always believed it was suicide to have Thome, Dye and Konerko together in the lineup. Thome gets on, but you are dealing with double play opportunities and guys who do not really do that much with the bat. You can't start the runner because they are not contact hitters and they hit too many hot grounders to short, especially with 1st & 3rd and one out. I'd love to see where the Sox rank there.

The Sox have enough talent that the offseason should be fun (call me a sicko, but I like inagining the moves). We'll see what happens. Walker could come back with some different players and be a complete success. Personally, if you don't reach your goals, I think changes should be made. No one is immune. I keep hearing, "Joe Blow is a great coach. Too bad he was fired." Maybe, but if the team doesn't succeed, what do you change? It's an age old problem.

You cannot seriously be watching this team and not feel like somebody should be held accountable for the complete lack of having anyone having any sort of idea at the plate...i realize cy manship and cy duensing are great pitchers...but please..enough with "the how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" argument about how much good a hitting coach can actually do..the answer is he can do better than this..goodbye walk..

Since the players have already quit, the Sox should just forfeit the remainder of the season and spare us the embarrassment.

As a Tigers fan I looked forward to a late season battle for first between the Sox and Tigers figuring that it would bring some much needed attention to the central division. But after the All Star break seeing the Sox TV announcers raving about how they had know doubt that the Six would win the division I can't help taking some pleasure in seeing the fall of the Sox after giving so little respect to the Twins and Tigers.

Norman I think youre half right..if anything the Sox give the Twins too much respect..to the point that they build them up in their minds to be a team that is 20 wins better than the .500ish team they are every year

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on September 1, 2009 7:29 PM.

Contreras and Thome traded ... Peavy iffy was the previous entry in this blog.

All Peavy, all the time - the latest on the right-hander is the next entry in this blog.

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