Results tagged ‘ Kenny Williams ’

Sox Have Crazy Thursday: Non-Tender Jenks, Sign Dunn, Bring A.J. Back into the Fold and Pick Up Alexei’s Option

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We thought all the action would happen at next week’s annual Winter Meetings in Orlando, but the Sox surprised everyone yesterday with a blockbuster day of moves that began to shape the team for next season.
It was hard to keep up with it all:
First, the Sox picked up the $2.5 option for Alexei Ramirez.
Second, Bobby Jenks was non-tendered.
Third, word came out that the Sox signed slugger Adam Dunn.
Fourth, I woke up this morning to find out that A.J. had signed a two-year deal (to continue my obsession with the ’05 Sox, Mark Buehrle is now assured of having a fellow World Champion as a teammate in 2011).
If that weren’t enough, there’s talk that that signing Paul Konerko is still a possibility. And could J.J. Putz be right behind?
So, what’s behind all of this spending? After Kenny Williams submitted two different budgets–one that would focus on cutting salaries and rebuilding and the other would increase the payroll–this is what was decided, according to Williams:
“The decision was that if we’re going all in, we’re going all in.”
You’ll get no argument from me.
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Sox-wise and Otherwise: The Best Deals of the Kenny Williams Era



kenny-thumb-300x330-29798.jpgAs we anxiously anticipate what the White Sox will do on the trade and free agent markets in the next couple of weeks before and during the Winter Meetings in Orlando December 6-9, let’s take a look back. 
Here is one fan’s opinion of the best deals of the Kenny Williams era, which began when he was named GM in October of 2000. For the record, I have come up with 11. I wanted to list the Top 10, but didn’t have the heart to exclude any of those below. They are in chronological order.
*  Williams acquired shortstop Juan Uribe from the Rockies for infielder Aaron Miles in December of 2003. I think we all agree that Juan was frustrating at times, mostly on offense, but the bottom line is that he was a shortstop on a World Series champion–now two World Series champions. As far as Miles is concerned he hasn’t been a total bust, but average at best.
*  The White Sox received Freddy Garcia and catcher Ben Davis from the Mariners in exchange for catcher Miguel Olivo, infielder Michael Morse and outfielder Jeremy Reed in June of 2004. History shows that Garcia was the “horse” of the splendid Sox pitching corps that carried them to the world title. Davis, whose Sox tenure was short-lived, was just a throw in. Olivo has been a decent starting catcher and is even rumored as a possibility to return to the Sox if A.J. Pierzynski isn’t re-signed–but was definitely worth giving up for Freddy. Neither Morse nor Reed, while spending some time in the majors, reached their potential.
*  We obtained Jose Contreras from the Yankees for Esteban Loaiza at the trade deadline in July of 2004. Contreras turned out to be an ace after a disappointing stint in New York. Loaiza, who won 21 for the Sox in ’03, never came close to that career year.
*  The Sox were certainly persuasive in getting Jermaine Dye to agree to sign on December 8, 2004 as he took less money to come to Chicago. Needing someone to pick up where Magglio Ordonez left off, Dye was an All-Star caliber player on the South Side and topped it off with a World Series MVP trophy.
*  In what was a most controversial transaction, the Sox dealt slugger Carlos Lee to the Brewers for leadoff man Scott Podsednik and reliever Luis Vizcaino five days after signing Dye. The trade for Scotty Pods was perhaps the most significant in that it changed the power-laden Sox to a more versatile club–a team that would win the World Series the following season. And Vizcaino served an important role as an innings-eater in the pen. Lee has done his thing for both Milwaukee and now Houston, but the Sox have never looked back.
*  It didn’t receive much notice at the time, but four days after trading for Podsednik, the Sox picked up Bobby Jenks off of waivers from the Angels. He has had his issues and battled a weight problem, but all in all he has been a top-flight closer–and was a marvel when he took over those duties in ’05.
*  In January of ’05, after a lot of soul-searching, the Sox signed Pierzynski who wore out his welcome in San Francisco. He may have played his last game for the South Siders, but won’t be forgotten as a guy who would do anything to win.
*  In years to come, even knowledgeable Sox fans may not be able to answer the question, “Who was the second baseman on the 2005 World Champions”? Well, it was Tadahito Iguchi who came unheralded from Japan to enjoy a fine season as a solid No. 2 hitter. He didn’t last long in Chicago, but he certainly made his mark. He was acquired just weeks before the beginning of spring training in ’05.
*  The first trade on this list that doesn’t involve a member of the ’05 champs is the deal that brought Matt Thornton to the Sox from Seattle in March of 2006 for the bust that was Joe Borchard. Thornton has turned into an All-Star performer as a setup man and depending on what transpires this winter could conceivably be the Pale Hose closer in 2011.
*  Another controversial trade at the time was in December of ’06 when the Sox traded the much-balleyhooed Brandon McCarthy and a minor league outfielder to the Rangers for three pitchers including John Danks and Nick Masset. The Sox did their homework on this one as Danks has been solid and keeps getting better while McCarthy has struggled with injuries and is now a free agent. Masset never really delivered in Chicago, but was a key contributor out of the bullpen for the N.L. Central Champion Reds this past season.
*  Sox fans weren’t sure about the signing of Cuban star Alexei Ramirez in January of 2008 because they didn’t have much information about him, but it soon became apparent he has a world of talent. The Missle is now one of the finest defensive shortstops in the game (and should have won a Gold Glove for his play in 2010) and won a Silver Slugger Award to boot.
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Sox-Wise and Otherwise


My weekly offseason opinions and observations about the White Sox and more…


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Is it Cora’s time?

Hahn isn’t the only member of the White Sox family in interview mode. Sox bench coach Joey Cora (pictured above), who has been mentioned for previous managerial openings, is reportedly a serious candidate for both the Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers jobs. Cora has been passed over more than once in the past. Wonder if the powers-that-be around baseball view him as a successful coach who doesn’t have what it takes to manage. We’ll see.


Hahn on
Mets short list

Pale Hose Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn is one of the leading
candidates for the New York Mets GM job along with the likes of long-time MLB
exec
Sandy Alderson
and L.A. Dodger Assistant GM
Logan
White
. How valuable has Hahn been? Just listen to his boss, Kenny Williams: “I know I’m going to lose him
(at some
point)
and it’s going to be a heavy blow.”
An unnamed baseball exec told
the New York Post: “
His
fingerprints are on everything Kenny does.”

 

Arizona
Fall League report

While the Sox have six prospects with the AFL’s Peoria
Saguaros (a seventh, catcher
Josh
Phegley
,
was set to play but was sent home with a health issue), the
main player to keep an eye on is centerfielder
Jared
Mitchell
. The MVP of the 2009 College World Series with LSU and the
No. 1 Sox draft choice just weeks later was injured in spring training and
missed the entire 2010 season. So his performance this fall is the first step
on his road to recovery. For the record, Mitchell knocked out three hits in his
first game and in his  initial five
contests he boasted a .389 on base percentage.

 

The
magic of Herm Schneider

Year after year, the White Sox are at the top or among the
healthiest teams in the major leagues. Highly respected
Herm Schneider is the reason why. During
the course of the 2010 season, the Sox tied the Arizona Diamondbacks for fewest
trips to the disabled list and had the fewest days spent on the DL.

 

A.J.
offers his two cents

Viewers of the ESPN week-day show First Take are being treated to a pundit
better known around Chicago as the White Sox starting catcher. That’s right,
A.J. Pierzynski,
appearing from an Orlando, FL studio, is offering his analysis of the
postseason–and he’s doing a pretty good job. Any Sox sighting in October is a
welcome addition to the universe, though it’s  still up in the air whether A.J., a free agent, will be in the Sox fold come 2011.

 

Paulie
update (sort of)

Speaking of free agency, it would be a shocker if news concerning Paul Konerko‘s status would come out before the end of the World Series. But, just for
the record, he hasn’t gone anywhere yet.


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Ozzie, Manny and KW on Sox Future

56399739-27221748.jpg.gifThree games against Boston and three against Cleveland are all that remain on the Sox 2010 schedule as they sit eliminated and nine games in back of the Twins.
So what’s there to talk about? Here’s three items that come to mind:
* He’s Baaack: Ozzie had his sit downs with owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams and it seems as if Oz got the assurances he was looking for so he’ll be back in 2011. I know it was a cause celebre for a few days because of the constant controversy that surrounds Ozzie, but this might have been much ado about nothing. Regardless of what anyone says, Guillen needs the Sox and the Sox need him. A match made in heaven for sure.
 
* Oh, Man, oh Manny: I was on the record at the time we acquired Manny Ramirez as saying that regardless of the outcome, it was a wise decision to take the chance on the slugger. I still feel that way so you won’t see me second-guessing the move. That said, Manny has been awful and has had zero positive impact with his .258 batting average, one homer, one double, two RBI and 21 strikeouts. His 15 singles and 12 walks have contributed to his .410 on base percentage, but it’s all been meaningless. And last night’s lack of hustle going into second base was inexcusable–but typical of what you get with him.
*What’s Next: So where do the Sox go from here. I’ll let Williams explain: 
“Every year, I go through three different scenarios. Where we are currently, which right now is kind of middle of the road. Yes, we have potential to be that notch above, but I have to look at where we are right now. You look at going out and adding the necessary pieces through free agency and through trades where you think you can compete for a championship.

“After that, you take a look and say, ‘well, if we have to go the other way because of budgets or my pie-in-the-sky thinking, we aren’t going to be able to afford it,’ then what’s the best young team we can put out there and start the process?

“It wouldn’t be the typical rebuilding. We’ve worked hard over the years here to make sure we are never in a position for total rebuilding kind of project. If you just look around the field, we have good young players under 30-years-old that are some of the better players in the league. I don’t think that’s the case, but if you have to filter two or three young guys around that position player-wise and maybe someone in your bullpen, well then that’s going to be called, I know how that works in Chicago, it’s going to be called rebuilding.

“In our minds, it’s still with the midset of trying to win. One you start using the “R” word, you create a different kind of mindset. I think a part of what we’ve done here is making sure our players understand that whatever the composition of the team is, it’s designed to win.”

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Ozzie Belongs in a White Sox Uniform

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You won’t find many White Sox fans who support Ozzie Guillen as much as I do.
Mostly due to the constant controversy that surrounds him, he’s grossly underestimated as a manager. Just as important, he’s one of us–a White Sox guy through and through–and he is the face of the franchise nationwide. For a team that struggles with its identity even in its own city, the importance of that reality can’t be ignored. And I haven’t even mentioned that he brought us a World Series ring.
Now, as this schizophrenic Sox season comes to an end, Ozzie is asking for his bosses to give him some love beyond the security of being here one more year with an option for another–vested if he wins the A.L. Central next year. The skipper seems to want an answer as he sees the Marlins job his for the taking. How do you say leverage in Spanish?
Despite those voices that keep saying that Ozzie has lost the team, and point to the September collapse as proof, I want him back. White Sox World needs him for the reasons expressed above and I don’t want to be in the position of regretting his loss after he’s left. His departure has all the makings of a perfect example of how you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone.
Because of his intensity and passion, I’ve also been a big fan of Kenny Williams. While he’s made his share of miscalculations, he’s been outstanding overall. I have to admit that his recent admission to how he’s been affected by the stress of the job troubles me. Especially when it’s put in the context of deciding who’s more important to the Sox–Ozzie or KW–and who will stay and who will go.
As the drama unfolds in the weeks ahead, it may very well be a matter of choosing one or the other. It’s my contention that what’s best for the White Sox is to make Ozzie happy and promote Williams, who would then be off the daily rollercoaster. This would open the door for the club to give the GM job to KW’s No. 2 Rick Hahn, who would give the Sox a fresh approach as they attempt to be consistent contenders in the A.L. Central.  
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Second Place, Manny and Looking Ahead to 2011

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Some White Sox thoughts on a football Saturday:
* Even before this week Sox fans got used to the fact that we weren’t going to catch the Twins. No one is really talking about it, but we now have a challenge to stay ahead of the Tigers and secure second place. After last night only six games separate us and Detroit. Two more Tiger victories this weekend (it’s Lucas Harrell vs. 16-game winner Justin Verlander this afternoon) and our lead is down to four. Then it’s off to the West Coast followed by a four-game series with the depleted, but always tough, Red Sox. I don’t want to cause any panic, I’m just saying…
* I wrote it before we acquired Manny Ramirez, I wrote it when we got Manny and I’ll say it again now after Manny has had no impact on the Sox pennant chances: regardless of his performance in a Sox uniform, it was the right thing for management to do. I do find it almost laughable, though, that it took a green uniform (because of the halfway to St. Patrick’s Day promotion) and nearly three weeks for him to record his first home run and RBI. To be fair, he is hitting .295 with a .456 on base percentage since arriving in Chicago.
* The Sox brass has a lot of lot of decisions to make in the offseason. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the ’11 Pale Hose are constituted. Some questions:
–Will the Sox sign free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski?

–Will the South Siders bring back Omar Vizquel, after his amazing season?

–Will the intense, but brittle, Carlos Quentin be back?

–Will Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks, who both seemed to take a step back this season, be viable candidates for the major league roster?

–What will become of Freddy Garcia?

–Will Chris Sale be in the starting rotation?

–Will Jake Peavy be ready for spring training?

–I can’t see Manny, Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones returning, so who becomes the DH?

–All indications are that Bobby Jenks is a goner, so who will close? J.J. Putz?

–Despite the fact he has two more years to go on his three-year deal, will the disappointing Mark Teahen still be in a Sox uniform even as a utilityman? 

–What are Brent Morel‘s chances of winning the starting third base job? Maybe a platoon with Vizquel?

–I know I’m burying the lead, but will both Ozzie and Kenny Williams be back? 
The offseason certainly won’t be boring.
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I’ve Seen Enough of Mark Teahen

Being a glass half-full guy, I don’t believe I’ve ever been as critical of a White Sox player in this blog as I’m going to be today. 
As they say, there’s a first time for everything.
Mark Teahen contributes very little offensively and is a horror show at third base. Contrary to what others might believe, it is no coincidence that the Sox surge began when Teahen hit the DL in June and Omar Vizquel took over at third. Unfortunately for us, all those years of losing in Kansas City seems to have shaped his baseball persona.
Tonight, Teahen’s throwing error on what appeared to be a routine double play ball in the fourth inning (his second throwing miscue of the game) opened the door for four Tiger 
runs–three unearned–paving the way for the 5-1 Sox loss, their second in as many nights in Detroit after the seven-game winning streak.
A major league team can’t afford to play a third baseman in a pennant race who can’t defend his position. Kenny Williams was fooled on this one when he dealt Chris Getz and Josh Fields for Teahen and then signed him to a three-year contract. Getz and Fields are no huge losses, but Teahen has been a disaster and, worse yet, it might be difficult to get rid of his contract after this year.
But he needs to go. I want 2010 to be the last year I see him in this uniform.
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Forget Dunn and Berkman, is Teahen the Answer?

55544350.jpgI don’t think my White Sox posse is much different than most Sox fans. We’ve been pretty hard on Mark Teahen. First, he got off to a terrible start in spring training and then unpleasantly surprised us with his subpar defense at third base with an offensive game that was nothing to brag about.
Perhaps the biggest indictment of all is that he went on the DL with the bum finger at the same time the South Siders began their run to the top of the A.L. Central. Coincidence or not, when Omar Vizquel became the Sox regular third baseman the Hose began to roll.
So it’s been a running joke with us that the Twins will get Justin Morneau back from the DL and we get Teahen. Kind of a consolation prize. When somebody went for the laugh last night via e-mail, I responded by saying, “Wouldn’t it be funny if he made a huge impact down the stretch?”
Well, he’s off to a good start. In his first game back, the Rodney Dangerfield of Sox players batted fifth, played right field and went 2 for 4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored in the 8-4 Sox victory over the Tigers.
Kenny Williams pursued Adam Dunn, had Lance Berkman in the fold until the then-Astro nixed the deal and surely looked at others. I don’t want to overreact to one game, but maybe we had that lefthanded hitter we coveted all along. He was just on the DL.
And maybe the joke’s on us.
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No Manny, No Dunn, No Sweat

55294573.jpgThe false rumors about Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn being dealt to the White Sox might make it seem like the South Siders failed to get the job done at the trade deadline. I look at it quite the opposite. Sometimes the trades you don’t make benefit you the most.
I certainly don’t know exactly what the asking price was for either slugger, but adding one or the other could have hurt more than helped if it meant giving up the likes of Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin or Tyler Flowers. Not only for the future, but for the present–on the field and in the clubhouse. And we all know Kenny Williams. If there is a way to improve the club by claiming somebody on the waiver wire, he’ll do it.
With Jake Peavy out for the season, Edwin Jackson (pictured above) is a fine pickup. I hated to part with Daniel Hudson, who has the potential of being a fine major league starter, but Jackson’s veteran presence will help fill the Peavy void. He’s also signed through next season.
Thought for the day:  No need to dwell on last night’s 6-2 loss to the A’s. It was bound to happen after the amazing winning streak at home. The important thing is to come out today and beat former Sox Gio Gonzalez and stay ahead of the surging Twins, now just a half-game behind.


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Harrell’s Successful Debut, Trade for Jackson Highlight Interesting Day in SoxWorld


Lucas Harrell is up, Edwin Jackson is in and Daniel Hudson is out.

Anything else happen in White Sox World yesterday? Oh yeah, the South Siders won their fifth in row and their 12th straight at home–an impressive 6-1 victory over those pesky A’s.
As we turn our attention to today’s trade deadline, we’re well aware that Kenny Williams may not be done. Will Jackson be turned around in a package for Adam Dunn? Is Brett Myers on the horizon? Is there a wild-card player out there that KW has his eye on? I’m going to hold my comments until the deadline has passed since I’ve got a feeling we’re not done.
The Harrell story is a nice one. Drafted in 2004, it has taken Lucas all this time to reach the majors and he made the most of it, giving up a single run in six innings for his first major league victory.
Harrell on the mound…

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Getting a hand from the crowd…

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And being greeted with the traditional beer shower…

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Harrell may be on his way back to Charlotte when Jackson arrives, but what a night it was for a guy who has waited a long time to reach the bigs and woke up yesterday morning having no idea he was on his way to Chicago.
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