Ostrowski: Power struggle within the Sox isn't evident

By Joe Ostrowski
Special to the Daily Herald
Updated 8/21/2016 10:49 PM

For the White Sox, the power struggle within the organization has been overriding theme for a long, long time.

But why?


Maybe it's just human nature. General manager Rick Hahn is the face of the front office. He handles the media's questions and speaks for the team. Still, that doesn't mean he has the power.

Weeks after the trade deadline passed, reports surfaced on both a national and local level about disagreements at the top.

Longtime national baseball reporter Jon Heyman wrote: "Word going around is that GM Rick Hahn was more in favor of a sale than team owner Jerry Reinsdorf."

Something similar came from Comcast SportsNet's David Kaplan. He has mentioned multiple times that, according to a longtime scout, Hahn wanted to sell off players, but vice president Ken Williams wanted no part of it.

So why the confusion? Where is the evidence that anyone other than the Reinsdorf/Williams combination is running the entire show? The difference is that Williams speaks when he feels like it and doesn't have to deal with the media when he doesn't want to.

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If you Google "mired in mediocrity," you'll see that Hahn owns that search. On July 21, Hahn also said, "We may well have to adjust and take a longer-term view. Take a different approach going forward."

Days later, Williams said, "To say we're going to be buyers or sellers or some combination, we just don't know. We just don't know."

The deadline resulted in a trade of relief pitcher Zach Duke to the St. Louis Cardinals. Again, why is there any confusion about who is making the calls?

Williams has been a part of the White Sox organization for 24 years after his playing career ended. He has been there all along as they've struggled to develop position players in their system. He has had public battles with Adam LaRoche, Chris Sale, Ozzie Guillen, Frank Thomas and Greg Walker, to name a few.


Williams always wins those spats.

Some believe Reinsdorf is hesitant to sell off main pieces of the team because of the reaction to the 1997 "White Flag Trade." Aren't we all much smarter baseball fans nearly 20 years later?

If you were angry at the time, take a look at what happened in that trade. Yes, the Sox were only 3½ games back in the division. They traded Wilson Alvarez, who had a 4.48 ERA in 11 starts after the deal. The Sox also moved 41-year-old pitcher Danny Darwin and reliever Roberto Hernandez.

In return, the White Sox added six players, including Keith Foulke and Bob Howry. Both relief pitchers were a main factor in winning the 2000 AL Central. A similar deal in 2016 would have called for a rally at 35th and Shields.

If you look at the 10 teams that would make the playoffs right now, there aren't any questions about who is running those teams. Theo Epstein, Mike Rizzo, Andrew Friedman, Brian Sabean, John Mozeliak, Dave Dombrowski, Mark Shapiro, Jon Daniels, Chris Antonetti, John Angelos.

White Sox fans constantly are pleading for their team to just pick a lane. Go for it or rebuild.

They have picked a lane, and Ken Williams is driving the bus.

• Joe Ostrowski is a co-host of the "Hit & Run" baseball show from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on WSCR 670-AM The Score with Barry Rozner. Follow him on Twitter@JoeO670.


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