White Sox pick up option on Ozzie Guillen’s contract for 2012

By Etheria Modacure

White Sox fans won’t have to worry about seeing Ozzie Guillen manage any place else any time soon because the team picked up his option for 2012. Guillen has been the manager for the White Sox since 2004 and has won two division titles and a World Series championship on the South Side.

General Manager Ken Willams, who helped land designated hitter Adam Dunn, re-sign first baseman Paul Konerko and catcher AJ Pierzynski, announced the news during a seminar at SoxFest, which took place at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St., on Jan. 21.

“It was done with the mindset we can again … that is my hope, we can get refocused on the positive energy we have had in the past,” Williams said. “I would just like us to get back to basics and win another championship here.”

Last season, there were problems reported surrounding the White Sox from Guillen’s son Oney’s Twitter saga to the fractured relationship between Williams and Guillen.

Oney tweeted about White Sox happenings, referring one tweet to Williams’ presence at a comedy club instead of caring about his team.

There were reports Guillen was targeted to be the new Florida Marlins manager late last season. He was also quoted toward the end of the season asking the team to give him an extension on his contract.

The White Sox gave him a one-year extension for 2011 before Jan. 21. There was a clause in his contract, which would have fully given him his option for 2012 if the team won the AL Central division in 2011.

“I thank [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], Kenny and the organization to believe in myself,” Guillen said.

He joked he was nervous when speaking about his option being picked up, and said his wife cried after hearing the news. Guillen said he knows how much his family want to remain in Chicago and realizes their love for the city and White Sox fans.

The White Sox failed to reach the postseason in 2010, falling to the Minnesota Twins by six games. Guillen said last summer was tough for him, and he wanted to get his contract status behind him so he could enjoy baseball again.

He acknowledged getting his option done before spring training starts would erase distractions within the clubhouse about his status.

“That’s our point; that’s what we want,” Guillen said after the seminar at SoxFest. “We want people worried about the ball club. Talk about Dunn, talk about [Konerko], talk about [Jake] Peavy. Don’t talk about Ozzie’s contract.”

Guillen said Reinsdorf and Williams were caught up with distractions last season, and now the organization will be more relieved going into spring training.

Being on the same page of winning for Williams and Guillen is the ultimate goal for 2011. Williams said with better communication comes a good understanding and direction. He added he and Guillen didn’t have problems that weren’t created from outside sources.

Guillen said his option being picked up doesn’t ensure his longevity with the team and the White Sox can let him go at any time.

“They still have the power to fire me,” he said. “They just have the contract to show to people how much they support me and how much they believe in my coaching staff.”