In an underachieving season that saw a revamped bullpen blow up and the firing of scouting director Duane Shaffer, manager Ozzie Guillen has a special request for his fellow employees attending the White Sox's organizational meetings in Phoenix in two weeks.
"Don't go live to [club chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf and make Jerry Reinsdorf hear what he wants to hear," Guillen said Friday night before the Sox's 5-2 victory over the Tigers behind Javier Vazquez's nine strikeouts and Jim Thome's 506th career home run. Paul Konerko also had three-run homer in the third as the Sox (71-89) clinched fourth place.
"We want to hear the truth," Guillen continued. "We want to hear what is going on down in the minor leagues, what is going on in our scouting department, what is with the major league team, what is going on with Mark Buehrle.
"We want to know about anybody. Say it right there and don't feel like, 'If I say this I'm going to get fired.' No. Just say because I think it will help us grow up as an organization and hit where we want to hit."
At last year's organizational meetings, the amateur scouting department fell under scrutiny and general manager Ken Williams implored his scouts to become more creative in their evaluations.
This year's gathering is destined to be more comprehensive because of the Sox's poor season, the lack of help from the minor league system in the first half and the alarming number of young players, such as outfielder Brian Anderson and relievers David Aardsma and Nick Masset, who struggled at the major league level.
"This is an opportunity we have to express how we feel about everyone," said Guillen, who looks forward more to this session than the major league winter meetings in December. "I expect anyone who will be at this meeting to express themselves if they are wrong or if they are right.
"This meeting is to help bring this ballclub and this organization back to the top. Any move in the minor league, big league level, trade, firing, release, if you don't think it is a good idea, I expect people to say so."
The Sox have until 15 days after the World Series to decide whether to pick up the options on shortstop Juan Uribe ($5 million), outfielder-first baseman Darin Erstad ($3.5 million) and left-handed reliever Mike Myers ($1.1 million).
But Guillen already has vowed that position players will perform more frequently in spring training and pitchers will be required to pitch in exhibition games instead of pitching in "B" games on minor league fields in Tucson.
Guillen also warned that a stronger emphasis will be placed on winning exhibition games.
"We need to be creative and we have things to do as an organization, and we'll take it from there," Guillen said.
The minor league system will be a point of emphasis in spring training for Guillen.
"It's about everyone, every scout, every guy in Latin America be part of this," Guillen said. "Because, remember when we won, everyone had a ring. Now we lose, 'It's Ozzie's fault, it's Kenny's fault.' Wait a minute. You were in rookie ball, you got a ring and you don't even have one player in the big league camp. Well, that's the same way we feel when we lose. It's everybody's fault or everybody's success."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times