Never count out Williams
The date was May 21 and my friend Beth and her friend, Sonja (not sure if that’s the correct spelling of her name, but it will be for this purpose) decided to go to Market for some food and a few beverages after the White Sox game that Thursday afternoon. Market, for those outside of Chicago or those who are tragically un-hip in the city, is the restaurant/sports bar/club where White Sox general manager Ken Williams has an ownership stake.
I mentioned to Beth that Williams might be there, and I would make proper introductions if we ran into him. But I also put out the warning that he might not be in the best of moods. After all, on that afternoon, Jake Peavy decided against waiving his no-trade clause to come from the Padres to the White Sox AND Minnesota pummeled the White Sox into submission by a 20-1 count.
But when we found Williams, sitting at a back table, holding court with the plethora of patrons and watching the Nuggets-Lakers playoff contest on television with a few friends, he couldn’t have been in better spirits. The bad loss to Minnesota can be easily brushed off-20-1 counts the same in the standings as 2-1. At that point, though, Williams must have understood what the rest of us didn’t really comprehend– Peavy said no for the moment but didn’t rule out the White Sox completely.
In hindsight, Friday’s trade by the White Sox shouldn’t have been such a surprise–even though Padres general manager Kevin Towers said he didn’t expect Peavy to be traded when he woke up that morning. You see, Williams and his staff don’t go haphazardly into making moves. It’s not like he wakes up one morning, thinks “You know what, I would like to get Player X” and suddenly starts pursuing him.
The White Sox come prepared, targeting certain players who fit the team, the city and U.S. Cellular Field, in some cases, for years at a time. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Williams say, “I’ve been after this player for X amount of years” after a trade, well, I would have enough money to at least buy a drink at Market, maybe two.
Williams looks to have provided the White Sox with a boost to go deep into the 2009 postseason, assuming the White Sox reach the playoffs, depending on how Peavy’s right ankle recovers. Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks stand as a formidable starting quartet. He also already has taken care of his major offseason shopping where the pitching staff is concerned.
Think about it–Williams might add a fifth starter, although Freddy Garcia is coming quickly, and one reliever. Otherwise, he’s pretty well set.
I should have known Friday was predominantly too quiet for the Trade Deadline day where Williams was concerned. Then again, I shouldn’t have forgotten about Peavy from two months ago.
By the way, try the turkey burger if you make the trip over to Randolph St. and stop at Market, which I highly recommend.