Tagged: Kenny Williams

Sox Fans: Take a Look at Ed Sherman’s Interview with KW From Crain’s Chicago Business

whitesoxx-large.jpgI don’t know about you, but with 10 days to go before “pitchers and catchers” I’m in the market for any good White Sox scoop.
Today, I’ve got a treat for the readers of Art of the Pale Hose. My good friend and sportswriter extraordinaire Ed Sherman has just completed an intriguing interview with Pale Hose GM Kenny Williams for Crain’s Chicago Business
Enjoy!

Day 1: SoxFest More Like an OzzieFest

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The first day of the annual SoxFest celebration turned out to be quite a day for the Sox skipper.
A group of fans broke out into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” in honor of Ozzie’s 47th (celebrated on Thursday), a brand new website, ozzieguillen.com, was launched and, most significantly, the Sox picked up Guillen’s option for 2012.
The extension wasn’t a sure thing as we all know. After a hellish (Ozzie’s sentiments, not mine) summer where he bickered with GM Kenny Williams, dealt with his son Oney‘s annoying tweeting (my view, not Ozzie’s) and was on the verge of being traded to the Marlins, Guillen’s future was certainly in doubt. But when all was said and done, Williams had his back.
“I’ve never doubted the man’s managerial ability and the ability to pull people together,” Williams said at SoxFest, according to Mark Gonzales of the Tribune.  “Listen, we all can get off track a little bit, and we (did) last year. All I want us to do is to get back on track and focus on the baseball team and the fans. They’re hand in hand. Everything else, I want out of the equation.

“And I wanted to get that (option) thing behind and move on and enjoy the game. I always enjoy the game. Go about my business the way I always do. We know it was a tough season last year. We just put everything behind, and everything goes well.”
More from SoxFest:
* It was apparent that the GM was unhappy with his pitching coach Don Cooper‘s comment that he would prefer that Chris Sale prepare for a single role as opposed to preparing to be a starter and reliever. Here’s Williams’ view: “…to have Sale prepare as a reliever and take away one or two of his pitches, because that’s what guys tend to do, I don’t think it’s wise. My pitching coach will ultimately fall in line with his general manager and his manager. Coop should probably speak to us before he speaks to you guys.”

* Sale’s immediate future, of course, will depend largely on Jake Peavy‘s progress. Reports range from he’ll be ready on Opening Day to him stepping into the rotation by May 1.
* Mark Buehrle is the latest Sox star to be headed into his “walk” year. Where does he stand? “If I have a good year and something happens, there’s an opportunity out there to sign and I’m open to it. I’ll talk with the wife and play for a couple more years, possibly. So we’ll see. It’s a long year. If I decide to retire at the end, I’ll retire. If not, I’ll sign somewhere.”

* With third base (Brent Morel, Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel) and first base (Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn) spoken for, Williams indicated that Dayan Viciedo is spending time learning how to play outfield to give him a shot at the Opening Day roster. The GM says Viciedo has done well so far.

58945940.jpgMatt Thornton, decked out in a Brian Urlacher jersey at yesterday’s SoxFest, shows where his football loyalty lies.

Paulie’s Back

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Breathe a sigh of relief, SoxWorld, your captain has returned.
In an 11th hour move, Paul Konerko signed what is reported to be a three-year, $37.5 million dollar contract. It looked very iffy for a while yesterday as Konerko’s demands increased, but the White Sox brass obviously made a convincing case that Paulie belongs on the South Side of Chicago.
So, the White Sox’s Three World Champion Musketeers–Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Mark Buehrle–all will be back to hopefully repeat their 2005 success. Joining them will be a solid starting pitching staff and a powerful lineup, including newcomer Adam Dunn, that should be enough for the Sox to be considered the favorite–at least for now–in the A.L. Central. The only void seems to be a spot or two in the bullpen, which Kenny Williams is undoubtedly addressing as I’m writing this blog.
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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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