Williams readies list of managerial candidates

Williams readies list of managerial candidates

Williams readies list of managerial candidates
CHICAGO -- The move to release Ozzie Guillen from his contract, a 2012 option picked up by the White Sox before the 2011 season began, and allowing the manager to pursue other opportunities per his request did not exactly come as a surprise to the team.

So, the gears have already been rolling on the machine to put the 38th White Sox manager in place.

"I will say just very briefly that because of the warnings, we've had ample time to kind of dwindle a list to a few select candidates," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams, speaking on the future after Guillen spoke on his departure following Monday's 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays.

"And we think that we can act swiftly, but I think that accompanies a plan of attack to the 2012, '13, '14 season," Williams continued. "But I don't want to get too far into that."

Williams wouldn't present the managerial search plan Monday night so as not to take away from Guillen on this day and what he meant to the White Sox fans, baseball fans and a lot of people watching the press conferences in both the U.S. Cellular Field Conference and Learning Center and in the team's front office. It seems fairly easy to put a list together, though, of viable managerial candidates.

Buddy Bell managed three years each with the Tigers, Rockies and Royals and has a close relationship with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and a solid working relationship with Williams as the team's Minor League Director. Bell is a people person like Guillen, but not nearly as outspoken.

It's not certain whether Bell wants to manage again, or if the White Sox want to move him out of his current position.

Sandy Alomar, Jr. played parts of five seasons in three separate stints with the White Sox and carries great respect within the organization. Alomar was the runner-up for the Toronto job last year, and currently is coaching first base for the Indians.

Tampa Bay bench coach Dave Martinez and Triple-A Charlotte manager Joe McEwing also figure to be on the short list of candidates. Long shots would be Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, who has excelled at the Minor League level, and White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who the Sun-Times reported Monday will be back with the team in some capacity.

Tony La Russa, who managed the White Sox from 1979-86 and whose firing was deemed by Reinsdorf as one of his biggest ownership regrets, also has been part of the speculation, but it is not certain whether La Russa will stay with the Cardinals or even be in consideration. Boston manager Terry Francona, who earned rave reviews from none other than Michael Jordan when he managed him at White Sox affiliate Double-A Birmingham, could also be a person of interest for the job.

Both Williams and Guillen spoke publicly that they could have continued working with the other one, but this relationship had essentially eroded enough to where it had to be one or the other moving forward. Now, Williams embarks on his second managerial hire, hoping to get close to the same payout as he did from the first.

"You know, as I thought through my own emotions, and I'll freely admit I've had some sadness over this, never did I imagine, particularly when the season started, never did I imagine I would be sitting in this room talking to you guys about failure to accomplish the goal," Williams said. "That's No. 1, but certainly, that Ozzie would no longer be here.

"That would have been the furthest thought from my mind. It's disappointing. It's upon reflection, I think I'm going to choose instead of remembering some of the things that have kind of gotten off track here recently, I think I'm going to remember a lot more of the good times than anything."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Being Ozzie Guillen, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.