Ozzie Guillen got his wish on Monday night, telling us he'll be on his way to the Florida Marlins. Apparently, all that remains is the White Sox agreeing on a player or two from the Marlins' system in return.
We'll be reflecting on Guillen's tenure throughout the week, but setting the emotional impact of his departure aside for the moment, let's take a look at the question marks he leaves in his wake.
There's no official word yet, but MLB.com reporter Jesse Sanchez has a source saying the Sox get infielder Ozzie Martinez and a minor-league pitcher. Martinez looks like fringy middle-infield depth at this point, based on his underwhelming performance at Triple-A New Orleans as a 23-year-old.
Due to a lack of depth in the Florida system, Baseball America called Martinez the fifth-best prospect in the Marlins' system prior to the season, noting that he took three bullets in a drive-by shooting in September of 2009. John Sickels gave him a C+ before the season, and thought it might've been too kind afterward. Kevin Goldstein was his biggest fan, calling him a three-star prospect before the season.
UPDATE: The other player involved is Jahn Marinez, a hard-throwing, erratic 23-year-old right-handed reliever.
Don Cooper: Staying.
So sayeth SI.com's Jon Heyman, which was to be expected. Cooper has been with the White Sox in various capacities since 1988, and he survived the previous managerial transition from Jerry Manuel to Guillen.
That Cooper is staying could mean that Tony La Russa isn't really a possibility, since La Russa would likely bring Dave Duncan wherever he goes.
Joey Cora: Hanging around, then leaving.
Scott Merkin tweeted that Cora will manage the final two games in place of Guillen. After the season, FoxSports.com's Jon Morosi said Cora will join Guillen in Florida ... provided Cora doesn't get any job offers, himself.
The rest: Nobody knows.
But considering Kenny Williams won the "Ozzie or Me" war with Jerry Reinsdorf while Walker lost his staunchest defender, I'm guessing the Sox will have a new hitting coach at the very least.
In his press conference, Williams said that Guillen telegraphed his exit well enough to allow the Sox to think about replacements, and Brett Ballantini expects the Sox to strike before the end of the World Series.
What names have popped up?
Buddy Bell: If so, he'd be lying to us.
During a conference call back in May, U-God was quite prescient in asking Bell about whether he'd like to manage again. Bell's response was quite declarative:
MP: When you left the Royals back in 2007, you said that part of it was you wanted to spend more time with your family. If you were ever offered another shot at managing a major league team, would you take it?
BB: (damn near instantly and emphatically) No. No, and I have had unofficial talks with other people in other organizations, but no. First of all, I like where I'm at too much and I like the people I'm working with so I'm good where I'm at. I'm almost 60 years old, it's not that I'm too old, but when I manage I like to throw BP and hit fungoes (fungos?) and things like that but my body's kind of falling apart and I couldn't do it the way I'd want to do it.
Now, it's quite possible that Bell could change his mind -- a pretty face (or job) can make a man do things he never thought he'd do. But given that Scot Gregor, Phil Rogers and now Doug Padilla have thrown Bell's name into the ring without any statements to the contrary, I'm guessing it's just a suggestion out of convenience. It makes sense on a simple level -- He's in the organization! He's a former manager! And there you have it.
Rogers went further than Gregor, saying "He wants to manage a team that has a shot to win." Is that real, or just Rogers projecting? Until there's more behind it, I'm still going to go with what we heard straight from the source. But hey, as Gregor would say, we're just "blog guys."
Tony La Russa: Can't see it ... and let's pray it doesn't happen.
Say what you will about La Russa, but his teams win. And if you want pitchers to throw at hitters, he's your guy. But man, his teams are hard to watch, and his whining -- even though it may be strategically sound -- is hard to tolerate. And if you like your young players to roam the diamond wild and free, he's not your guy.
Aesthetics aside, he would be another strong personality when Williams just got rid of one. Plus, as I said before, if the Sox are set on keeping Cooper, I don't think La Russa would let Duncan go elsewhere, and I wouldn't fault him for preferring his guy.
And now we've reached the guys who haven't managed in the big leagues before, and so we can only project what they might be like....
Dave Martinez: The guy I like the most, for what little I know.
Martinez can grow a fantastic beard, has White Sox ties, and he's the bench coach for Joe Maddon, who might be the manager who impresses me the most. Martinez is well-respected, and regarded as a future skipper. Really, he shared the same profile as Guillen at this stage in his career, as Ozzie never managed in the minors, but learned well under Bobby Cox and Jack McKeon.
Sandy Alomar Jr.: Williams might acquire him out of habit.
Williams regarded Alomar highly enough to bring him to the South Side on three separate occasions, and this could be a fourth. He's one of those guys who was considered a field general and manager-to-be in his playing days. This sort of thing happens to catchers.
Ryne Sandberg: Faking an announcement would be funnier.
The only reason I'd like to see Sandberg hired is because I'm curious about the reaction it would receive. But whenever I hear Sandberg talk, he strikes me as an "Old School is Good School" guy. Throw in his National Leagueness, and I'd expect that bunting would rule the day.
Joe McEwing: Honk if you like bunting.
McEwing is the Charlotte Knights' manager, and the Knights have seen a surge in sacrifices, as 3E8 has pointed out. That's not to say he's entirely responsible -- after all, the Knights went from the fewest bunts to the most under Chris Chambliss, who preceded McEwing, so McEwing may only be carrying out an institutional policy.
That said, given McEwing's profile -- a scrappy utility player named Super Joe who grindered his way into managers' hearts in the National League -- I'm guessing he's not opposed to giving up outs.
On the plus side, he has overseen the development of Brent Morel, the turnaround of Tyler Flowers, and the emergence of Alejandro De Aza as a capable everyday player, so if you want more kids involved, he would be your guy.