Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams said Saturday that he hopes Ozzie Guillen will return as manager next season, despite recent comments that Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf were willing to let Guillen leave.
Guillen has one more year and an option on his contract with the White Sox. But Williams recently told the Chicago Tribune that if Guillen is no longer happy with his deal, then he and Reinsdorf respected Guillen enough to let him go.
Appearing on ESPN 1000's "Talkin' Baseball" on Saturday morning, Williams said he hopes Guillen returns.
"I hope so," he said. "And I know there will be some people out there who may be surprised by that.
"Ozzie and I have talked about this countless times, and the most bothersome thing is just about everything that's been reported that I have said or done have been lies and divisive. Including yesterday, where it was reported that during an argument I said, 'You're done, you're done,' to him. That's absolutely false. If I ever get to that point, that's the time to say, 'You are gone.' And then there's a press conference. There's no ambiguity to the way I manage this baseball team. It's direct and honest."
Guillen continues to say he isn't going to ask for a contract extension, but he seems to want to know he's wanted.
"How I know I'm very important?" Guillen said before Saturday night's game in Los Angeles. "That's all it is: 'Do you want me here?' Well, I want to be here. Believe me, I do. I have a choice [from] what I read. ... I don't know. I don't even talk to anybody. It's all about rumors and talking and that stuff. My biggest choice is here. And Jerry knows.
"If you want me here for good because you need me, I'll stay, if not, I'll move on," Guillen said. "I know there are people who think 'If we let Ozzie go, what are we going to face next?' There might be hurt for two weeks and then everything is over with. I have another uniform and they have another guy."
Williams was direct on Talkin' Baseball when asked if he and Guillen can work together next season.
"We are two men I think can absolutely work together," he said. "I still consider him a good fit for Chicago, and a good fit for the White Sox.
"We just need to get some of the peripheral things taken care of and refocus on the baseball team."
Williams talked about how difficult this season has been with countless off-field controversies ranging from Guillen's Twitter account to what round the Sox waited to draft Guillen's son.
"It's been an eventful year," Williams said. "A little like a pinata hanging from the ceiling; a long, disappointing year."
But if things don't work out between the manager and the White Sox, Guillen seems to be prepared.
"I will walk away with my head very high. Very high," Guillen said. "I will, because we did everything we can to make this organization work. I have a blast. I love it here. Most of my players like me. The respect I got for the media and the media has for me, that's unique. The love and respect I have for the fans, that's very special. I don't have anything to regret being here. But if I'm going to go, then my job is to win a championship somewhere else. Where it's going to be? I don't know. I don't have any regrets."