White Sox fire scouting director after 35 years
CHICAGO -- As the Chicago White Sox staggered into their second interleague series with the Cubs on Friday, they fired longtime scouting director Duane Shaffer.
General manager Ken Williams said dismissing Shaffer, the senior director of amateur scouting, had nothing to do with the major league club's miserable performance -- 19 losses in their previous 24 games. Shaffer was in his 35th season with the team,
"This is a man who's dedicated his life to this profession, and I don't take it lightly. It was something that we just had to assess over the course of time as to whether we wanted to continue down this path or try a new path out," Williams said.
"This is just where we are. It's not a good feeling, not a good feeling at all to have to do this, but it was necessary for where we are right now and in no way correlates to what's happening on the field."
During Shaffer's tenure, the White Sox picked Jack McDowell in the first round of the 1987 amateur draft, and the right-hander went on to win an AL Cy Young Award in 1993. They also selected current regular third baseman Joe Crede in the fifth round in 1996, and pitcher Mark Buehrle in the 38th round in 1998.
But when the White Sox have dipped into their Triple-A pool two years after winning the World Series, they've had little success in finding help.
Williams said that was not a factor in making the change. He said he expects to appoint a replacement from within the organization soon.
He said he didn't want to use "philosophical differences" as the reason but added that description was fitting.
"It doesn't mean my philosophy is any greater than his. It just means at this point and time, we're going to try it my way," Williams said.
Shaffer served as a player, coach, roving instructor, manager, scout, scouting supervisor and scouting director. He supervised the team's draft picks from 1991-2007. A pitcher, Shaffer was chosen by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 1969 draft.
Williams was asked if there are any of his players who are untouchable with the July 31 deadline not that far away and the White Sox apparently out of contention.
"I think there are obvious certain core players that we think it would behoove us to keep around for a longer period of time. But at the same point, if an offer come in that makes you better as a whole, then I think you have to consider anything," he said.
"Sometimes you have to remove Player X and Player X's salary slot to redistribute that in certain ways, much the way we did Carlos Lee a few years ago," he added. "I would never say never to certain players, but I can say unlikely to a number of them."
Williams said the most difficult part of a trade would be deciding if the season-long struggles by proven veteran players are just a blip or the sign of a downward spiral.
"So can you pick and choose which ones are the ones to keep or move on?" he asked.
Manger Ozzie Guillen, who played 13 seasons for the White Sox, said this is the most disappointing stretch of baseball he can recall because of the talent on the team.
"When you play the way we play everybody is on edge, counting myself," he said. "I don't come here thinking, I'm going to get fired today. But some players have that in the back of their mind --I'm going to get traded or the rumors people are talking about right now. ... Everybody in baseball, if not now in a couple of weeks, will start talking about trades to make the team better or break up the team. Right now, we are not in that position."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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