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Columnist
This just in - Thome still gone
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 1/25/2010 8:31 PM

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Ozzie Guillen had already moved on.

But for a guy sometimes considered heartless, Guillen sure let his emotions get in the way of his lineup card the last few days.

When SoxFest began Friday, GM Ken Williams made it clear that in a perfect world he'd probably add a powerful left-handed bat to the middle of the White Sox' lineup.

And this being one of those years when some legit names still are unemployed, Williams was still in the market for a Jim Thome type.

In fact, he was still in the market for Jim Thome.

But Williams also said he "deferred to Ozzie on this one,'' meaning Guillen didn't want a base-clogging thumper to foul up his plans for 2010, and Williams wasn't going to force Thome upon Guillen.

"We have power with a lot of 20-homer and high-double guys,'' Williams said. "But Ozzie wants to keep the line moving more than we have in the past.''

Keep the line moving with a faster, more flexible lineup.

That was the plan the entire off-season and when the weekend began, but by the time the first night of SoxFest concluded, Guillen began pondering again what it would be like to have Thome.

It was mostly because nearly everyone inside the team, outside the team and everywhere in the Midwest loves Thome.

It's impossible not to love Thome. He's a great person, everyone wants to be around him, and he did his job well while he was here. He can still hit, and he's never afraid of the big stage.

Many team execs, coaches, players and fans wanted Thome to return, and they let Guillen know it the last few days.

So it confused Guillen, who then began to confuse emotion with practicality, and thus his flip-flopping all weekend and into Monday night, when he finally said that Thome would not return.

His decision Monday, which was only a reaffirmation of what he decided last fall, was correct.

It's time to try something else.

Bringing back Thome would have meant leaving behind a bullpen arm or a backup infielder.

It would have meant squashing Guillen's plans to rotate the DH spot among several players, like Paul Konerko, Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay and Omar Vizquel, thus killing the on-field and batting order versatility he has been begging for since last year.

Thome will do well wherever he lands. He's a great guy and he earned his salary here.

But it's time to move on - again.

Jenks a lot

Bullpen coach Juan Nieves believes Bobby Jenks can be as good as he ever was before, but he's going to have to make some changes.

"The league has adjusted to him, so now he has to adjust,'' Nieves said. "They're swinging early in the count on him because they don't want to get behind.

"He's gonna have to throw some fastballs up there early, bust guys inside, and use the two-seamer. If he's going to throw breaking balls early, they're going to have to be really good breaking balls off the plate or in the dirt.''

Waffle house

Say what you want about Brett Favre, but if the Vikes win that game Sunday, his performance goes down among the bravest of all time, on par with Kellen Winslow's legendary effort in Miami when the Chargers won 41-38 (OT) in 1982.

There may not be another quarterback in the NFL today, regardless of age, who could have survived the beating Favre took Sunday and continued to play.

Despite his waffling on the retirement issue, he's still a great NFL QB who makes Sundays more interesting and the game more entertaining.

Here's hoping that once he heals up, he decides to come back yet again.

Bring an offense

The Jets under Rex Ryan are reminiscent of the 1984 Bears - under defensive boss Buddy Ryan - who lost to the 49ers in the NFC title game.

That Bears team had the brilliant defense, great running game and no passing game with Jim McMahon sidelined for the year.

The following season, with a healthy McMahon and an offense, well, you know the rest.

Sure was fun, though, watching a team play some defense the last few weeks, something hardly anyone does anymore, and if they can find a passing game next season, look out for the Jets in 2010.

Drafting

CBS' Charley Casserly says this year's draft will provide the NFL its best first round of talent since 1983, which produced Hall of Famers John Elway (No. 1 pick), Dan Marino (27), Jim Kelly (14), Eric Dickerson (2), Bruce Matthews (9) and Darrell Green (28), not to mention Jim Covert (6), Willie Gault (18), Chris Hinton (4) and Joey Browner (19).

So this is another good year for the Bears to be without a first- or second-round pick, huh?

The quote

Ken Williams, on making another move before spring training: "Unless it translates into a championship, it's a wasted effort. I'm a bottom-line guy and for me the bottom line is winning championships.''

And finally -

Miami Herald's Greg Cote, on National Signing Day: "That's where self-appointed 'recruiting gurus' writing blogs from their mother's basements tell you instantly whether an 18-year-old kid you've never heard of might be any good in three years. And you believe it!''

brozner@dailyherald.com