Guillen: No wholesale changes in store
Skipper thinks his club still has chance to reach playoffs
BOSTON -- Ozzie Guillen made two points perfectly clear prior to Thursday's series opener between the White Sox and the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Guillen would like his beleaguered bullpen to work more by defined responsibility as opposed to overworking the hot hand or going more batter to batter. And despite the daily news churned out by the Hot Stove rumor mill, Guillen still sees no trade fit where his team is concerned.
That piece of news was delivered to the media by Guillen on Thursday evening, after he discussed the team extensively with general manager Ken Williams on Wednesday night.
"Right now, on July 19, at 5:05 p.m. ET, I don't see any trade," Guillen said. "I talked to [Williams] last night on the plane and we talked about the ballclub. And right now, nothing's going on. Nothing.
"There's a lot of talk, a lot of rumors. But it's nothing there."
During his 20-minute talk with the media on Tuesday in Cleveland, Williams spoke of how he didn't expect a lot of big-name trades across the board because teams aren't willing to part with top young talent. Guillen agreed Thursday, pointing to the changing economics of the game, and the fact that past champions such as the Cardinals and White Sox have tweaked their rosters at the non-waiver deadline as opposed to adding a frontline difference maker.
Where the White Sox are concerned in 2007, Guillen doesn't want to see wholesale changes with his squad because he still believes this group can contend in the present.
"I talked to a couple of my players. I said, 'You think you're going somewhere now? You don't. You don't,'" Guillen said. "Kenny, myself, we feel like we have a chance.
"It's so funny, I don't even want to talk about it. It makes me mad. We should be 6-1 on this road trip. The only game I think we lost is a 2-0 shutout [on Friday to Erik Bedard]. The other ones, we took a lead into the seventh, eighth and we lost.
"That's why we still feel like, 'Wow, we're there. We're not too far away from being good,'" Guillen added. "But, it's not there, it's not there yet. That's our hope, that's in our minds. That's what we think, what we want. Is it going to happen? Who knows?"
During the last two White Sox games, Guillen stayed with Jon Garland through a team-high 122 pitches on Tuesday and used Mark Buehrle for 109 on Wednesday.
An average benchmark for White Sox starters usually falls at 110-115 pitches. But the bullpen struggles forced Guillen to make adjustments within his philosophy.
"I need them to go through those innings to keep everything the way we want with the bullpen," Guillen said. "That's why I did something the last week I never did in my career, that's why I make them throw.
"I'm always going to protect their arms. We got to be careful the next outing, the next start. Hopefully, we don't them pitch that long. I don't want them to miss a start because I overused them one game."
With Guillen's thoughts on the starters in mind, he talked specifically about relievers handling more clear-cut roles. Just as he refuses to use closer Bobby Jenks extra innings to bail out other bullpen arms, the same theory plays true for Guillen's starting staff.
Basically, relievers other than Jenks need to step up and claim their respective innings in order to have this team running on all cylinders.
"You [are going] in, you [are going] in. You lose, we lose," Guillen said. "I'm not going to overuse people. I'm not going to make one pitcher protect another one because you do their job.
"Everyone has to do their job. Everyone has their responsibility. Take it. You can handle it, or we can get someone else."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.