GM Ken Williams praised, too, for his off-season.
Ozzie Guillen deserves an “A” grade for his managing this year, Ken Williams had his best-ever offseason over the winter and Jose Contreras “certainly isn’t living up to his money.”
Those were just a few of the sentiments expressed by White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf during a 28-minute interview Friday on WSCR-AM (670).
“It’s much harder to manage a team when the players are not performing and keep them playing hard,” Reinsdorf said of why he would give the Sox manager an “A” this year and an “A-minus” for the Sox’s 2005 World Series championship season.
“Most teams that were good teams and had high expectations, when they stink up the place and play poorly, there comes a point where they packed it in. (The Sox) never packed it in, and give Ozzie credit.”
Though he’s “shocked and surprised” by the Sox’s poor season, Reinsdorf also praised the team’s general manager for an offseason in which Williams acquired pitchers David Aardsma, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Nick Masset and Andrew Sisco, among others.
“I’ve told Kenny this: I think he had his best offseason this year,” the chairman continued. “His ability to reload the system with arms, I thought it was uncanny the way he pulled it off.”
One of the Sox’s top arms in 2005 and ’06 was Contreras, but the right-hander — who signed a three-year contract extension in April 2006 and is due $10 million for each of the next two seasons — leads the majors with 16 losses this season.
“Well, he certainly isn’t living up to his money,” Reinsdorf said. “I’ve said how many times over the years, when you go more than one year (contract-wise) with a pitcher, you are sticking your neck out. If you go more than three years, it’s probably suicide ...
“He got the three-year deal because he was pitching outstanding and we tried to build this team around our pitching. We decided to take a chance. It didn’t work. Every time I’ve taken a chance on our pitching, it hasn’t worked.”
Yet Reinsdorf has no regrets about signing Mark Buehrle to a four-year extension in July.
“Buehrle, if you wanted to gamble on a pitcher, he’s the right kind of pitcher,” Reinsdorf said. “His mechanics are beautiful ... and he’s our guy. As much as you know you are taking the risk beyond two or three years, you have to take into consideration the marketplace.
“If we always stuck to our guns on the three-year thing, we would not be able to keep our pitchers. Sometimes you have to take a chance, even though you know you are gambling.”
Jim Thome (stiff back) was a last-minute scratch for Friday’s first game.
“We’re going day by day; hopefully, he’ll be ready by (today), but I have a little doubt,” Guillen said.
Guillen also said Scott Podsednik (strained right rib cage) is probably not headed for the disabled list.
Not so groovy
Mike Myers allowed four runs on four hits in the first game and has given up six runs in two innings since signing with the Sox on Sunday.
“He’s struggled right now,” Guillen said. “He’s only had (three) appearances for us. He was back home for a little while (after getting released by the New York Yankees). We’re going to continue to put him there and see what we can get out of him.”
Nathaniel Whalen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (708) 633-5956. Read his blog at http://blogs.dailysouthtown.com/whalen