Results tagged ‘ Adrian Gonzalez ’

Beckham not going anywhere

During a weekend at home in early August of last season, I remember one of my esteemed colleagues asking Ozzie Guillen about rumors of the White Sox reportedly putting in a waiver claim for Toronto outfielder Alex Rios.

“Who?” Guillen responded, knowing full well who Rios was, but seeming to be somewhat surprised by this bit of personnel news involving his team.

Two days later, Rios joined the White Sox in Seattle.

There’s no question Guillen runs the White Sox. He makes the day-to-day decisions about the lineup and serves as the true face of the franchise. But by Guillen’s admission, because of his candor and honesty with the media, sometimes he finds out about moves orchestrated by general manager Ken Williams right before they happen.

Guillen might say there’s no move to be made or the team doesn’t have interest in a certain player, and to his knowledge it’s an absolutely true statement at the moment, and in 48 hours, that individual is part of a five-player deal sending him to Chicago.

I’m sharing this little vignette because Guillen was questioned after Tuesday’s B game with the Dodgers about the possibility of Gordon Beckham being moved for a high-end performer, in this instance, San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez. And Guillen’s response?

“We plan to have Gordon for a long time,” Guillen said. “I don’t see why people still talking about it.”

In this case, Guillen knows exactly what’s going on. Gordon Beckham is going nowhere but to second base for the 2010 season and probably many, many years to come.

From the time Beckham was drafted in 2008, he was compared by the White Sox to having Michael Young-like potential. That potential translates into 200 hits, 40 doubles, 20 home runs, 100 runs scored, 80 to 90 RBIs and a .300 average, offensively, on a yearly basis, and solid defense in the field. And remember, Young is one of Guillen’s favorite players not wearing a White Sox uniform.

Trading Beckham as part of an Adrian Gonzalez trade, as a purely hypothetical example, makes little sense for the White Sox. You are basically getting rid of one franchise player for another who might only be in Chicago for two years. I’m not demeaning Jayson Nix or Brent Lillibridge, both capable players and would-be hypothetical replacements at second, but Beckham is a special force.

Williams has shocked people before and he might again. Let’s say, in that hypothetical mode, Williams decides to go after a big left-handed bat through the trade market, i.e., Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, etc. I’m more interested as to what the White Sox decide to do with Daniel Hudson, who clearly is the talented young pitching every team covets, or a rising catching prospect such as Tyler Flowers, with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the last year of his contract.

Until further notice, though, let’s stop talking about Beckham going anywhere. He is one of the few near-untouchables on the White Sox roster.

“When we get something done, we let people know what’s going on about the real thing,” Guillen said. “Right now, the expectation about this guy and that guy, I like the team we have. We have a general manager who keeps things quiet, thank God. And when he makes deals, it’s for a reason.

“Every trade the White Sox want to make, people think they’re going to make with the White Sox is Gordon, (Gavin) Floyd and (John) Danks. Those names are going to come up. And we have to deal with that every time they talk about White Sox trying to make a deal. We got to stay on our toes.”

Perspective on pursuit of top talent

Here’s a little interesting side note attached to covering Ken Williams during the Winter Meetings or during really any high-traffic period where trades are the focus, whether it’s the offseason or the non-waiver trade deadline. Williams never has been afraid to pull the trigger on a big deal, make that an extremely big deal, and he’s never been afraid to listen on potential inquiries.

No player is off-limits, although some are less likely to be moved than others. Factoring in all of these particular circumstances, and it’s easy to see how the White Sox are linked to many a big-name player.

Earlier in the week, I was talking to Williams and asked him about Jake Peavy. Williams said the two had talked and that Peavy was fired up and ready to go for 2010. He said the purpose of this call to his new ace was to sort of pick Peavy’s brain about a former teammate, getting a feel as to what fit he would have in the clubhouse.

When I asked Williams if that player in question was San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez, not expecting any sort of direct answer, Williams paused and then gave me a “No comment.”

Let’s move ahead to Monday, the first official day of the 2009 Winter Meetings, and jump to the half-way point of Williams’ 20-minute session with the media. Check out this following interaction.

“If you didn’t have Jake Peavy, would you be in on Roy Halladay?” a reporter asked Williams of the Toronto ace, who is known to be on the market.

“No comment,” Williams responded with a smile.

“Are you in on Roy Halladay?” another reporter asked.

“No comment,” Williams answered, still smiling.

Either Williams is trying to acquire both Gonzalez and Halladay, judging by the similarity of his responses, or the White Sox general manager has become Major League Baseball’s consummate poker player. Before the Halladay press conference is planned at U.S. Cellular Field, though, remember the right-hander has a full no-trade clause, has expressed a desire to stay in Florida for Spring Training and would probably cost the White Sox either John Danks or Gavin Floyd, along with prospects such as Jordan Danks, Daniel Hudson and/or Tyler Flowers, as a purely hypothetical talent package in return.

And there’s no guarantee Halladay would be anything more than a one-year rental, set to earn $15.75 million in the final year of a three-year, $40 million deal. Of course, I’m taking a huge leap based on two simple words from Williams, who would have probably asked about Babe Ruth’s availability if he was running a team at that point.

Then again, it’s easy to dream about the big catch when Williams is at the helm, even though he readily admits the team is in a financial holding pattern. One reporter I was talking to on Monday night said he never would count out the White Sox.

As for the potential pursuit of Juan Pierre, the Dodgers want a starting pitcher in return for the leadoff man/outfielder and the White Sox would want a sizable portion of the $18.5 million owed him over the next two years to be picked up. Doesn’t sound like a fit.

More from Ken Williams

Even with three stories soon to be up on whitesox.com, focused on Kenny Williams’ Winter Meetings thoughts, there are still a few more nuggets of information from the White Sox general manager to be shared. So, here they are.

CLOSING TIME
Bobby Jenks is not being actively shopped, according to Williams, who has not had one present offseason trade talk concerning the burly right-hander to date. This assessment doesn’t mean Williams won’t listen to offers for Jenks at the Winter Meetings. In fact, Williams expects Jenks to be a topic of conversation at Indianapolis.

“He’s one of the game’s better closers and people need closers,” Williams said. “But so do we.”

A more in-depth look at the Jenks’ dynamic and the White Sox bullpen will be on the site today.

RUMOR MILL CHURNING
Williams claimed to not have even heard the recent rumor concerning a three-way trade involving the White Sox, Padres and Angels, a rumor termed as preliminary discussions for sending Adrian Gonzalez to the White Sox, Paul Konerko to the Angels and a plethora of prospects to the Padres. The Angels were never involved in such a deal, but check out the following by-play with Williams as representative of possible Gonzalez interest. Well, it just might show interest, as of course, nothing was said directly.

I asked Williams if he had talked to Jake Peavy during this offseason, trying to get a gauge on Peavy’s fire and preparedness for his first full season in Chicago. Williams told me that the two had spoken, with Williams needing to ask Peavy about a player from another team to whom he had interest.

“He’s already pumped up,” said Williams of Peavy.

When I asked Williams if that player he asked Peavy about was Gonzalez, he responded with a quick “No comment.”

Now, Williams could have just been throwing out a standard response when a media member asks him about a specific player. He might have been asking Peavy about catcher Henry Blanco, who played in San Diego last year and has drawn the White Sox interest. Williams has been known to seek out his veterans to get a feel for how a particular trade target would fit on the roster and the clubhouse, much more so than his talent.

Most White Sox fans surveyed would list Gonzalez as a perfect fit, and remember Williams never shies away from inquiring about top talent. He even asked about Johan Santana before the Twins traded him to the Mets.

“If you’re good, I’ve asked about you,” said Williams with a laugh.

WAIT AND SEE
Don’t expect talks to begin any time soon in extending catcher A.J. Pierzynski or first baseman Paul Konerko, whose multi-year deals expire after 2010.

“Way too early,” Williams said. “I’ve got to look at so much focus on 2010. That’s something I can’t focus on.”

ALL ABOUT ANDRUW

The expediency with which Andruw Jones signed with the White Sox, not to mention the $500,000 as the agreed upon salary, with incentives that could add on another $1 million, proves Jones truly wants to play for the White Sox.

“He’s been a great player for a long time and has gotten derailed doing some things that really isn’t his game,” said Williams of Jones. “But he and Ozzie have a great rapport.

“Andruw knows he’s coming here in a backup role. It’s always a key, when talking about a player who has amassed the numbers and accomplishments he has amassed, to be accepting of his role.

“But he really, really wanted to be here,” Williams said. “He wanted to be a part of what we are trying to do. That combination, the player and the dollars, it makes sense for us.”

Williams also knows that he has a player who could be something special if he returns to past form. As for not pursuing Jones prior to the 2008 season, after fellow center field aces Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand and even Kosuke Fukudome wound up with different teams, Williams explained how the two-year, $36 million deal Jones eventually signed with the Dodgers didn’t even factor into the White Sox lack of interest.

“I didn’t make one phone call to Scott Boras,” said Williams of talking with Jones’ representative in the 2007 offseason. “And that’s not because we didn’t like the player. It simply was because we had our sights set on a different target.”

Guillen already has talked to his friend about coming to Glendale in the best possible physical condition.

“Ozzie has advised Andruw that it’s in his best interest to show up in shape,” Williams said. “But the good thing about Andruw is he knows who Ozzie is and what he is about and didn’t shy away from the challenge.”

NAME GAME
Remember the names Daniel Hudson, Lucas Harrell, Jhonny Nunez, Jon Link, Sergio Santos and Randy Williams. If the White Sox don’t add a veteran reliever, these young hurlers will fill out the final two spots in the White Sox bullpen.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers