06/11/09 3:50 PM ET
Fields has sit-down chat with GM
With Beckham up, infielder given sought-after honesty
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
It was the sort of honesty sought out by Fields, though, after Gordon Beckham was called up from Triple-A Charlotte last Thursday and basically took Fields' starting job at third base.
"We had a very good meeting. It was very blunt and straightforward," Fields said. "It's all you can ask for from a general manager.
"Almost more blunt than I wanted him to be. I appreciate him sitting down and letting me know where I stand."
Just like many others who watched Beckham's exceptional performance in Arizona during Spring Training, Fields certainly was not startled to see the team's top pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft have his contract purchased from the Knights. It was the timing of the move that was a little confusing to Fields, who had raised his average back up from .212 to .244.
One of the indirect problems for Fields was that Wilson Betemit, who was acquired during an offseason trade that sent Nick Swisher to the Yankees, was not doing the job with the glove or the bat as Fields' backup at third. So, the combination of Beckham and Fields presented the White Sox a greater chance to win than with Fields and Betemit, who was designated for assignment. Fields also hadn't thoroughly established himself with the glove or the bat over the season's first two months.
Fields understands that the Beckham move was perceived as what was best for the team. Nonetheless, Fields told MLB.com last Thursday that he had to do what was best for himself as well and, at 26, was not at a "reserve role kind of age." He expected to have a talk with both manager Ozzie Guillen and Williams, and the direct conversation with Williams came two days ago.
Many employees in jobs outside of baseball have disagreements with their bosses or need clarification as to where they stand in the company. Fields got that from Williams, knowing that he will have the opportunity to contribute as long as he's part of Guillen's 25-man active roster. That current opportunity is coming at first base, with Fields temporarily replacing the injured Paul Konerko.
"I thought some [of Williams' explanation] was fair, and I saw a lot of his points," Fields said. "Some of it, I would like to say I disagree, but obviously, if you have questions, you might not agree with what's going on. Like I said, he's doing what's best for the team to win.
"He respects where I'm coming from, and I respect what he had to say. He was straightforward to the point where it might have hurt a little bit. But that's how it is. That's how the game is."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.