Results tagged ‘ Ken Williams ’
As the clock struck 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Ken Williams watched Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline pass and moved on to other pressing matters.
“It has come and gone and at this point I’m going home to get some sleep,” the White Sox general manager said.
Williams listened to all range of proposals Tuesday, although the team’s target figured to be utility infielder, reserve outfielder and possibly another pitcher. But nothing materialized, so the first-place White Sox will try to hang on to their American League Central lead with the upgrades of Kevin Youkils, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano already in place before the deadline.
“There were some interesting discussions but nothing that I would describe close enough to start exchanging medicals,” Williams said. “I feel like just as we ask the players to grind it out and give it everything they have, we have a responsibility to do the same. We want to show them we are in this fight with them and believe in them.
“Whether or not we have positioned ourselves to close this thing out or not, we’ve given all we have and exhausted all options in the quest to be as good as we can be. Hopefully that’s enough and hopefully the players see that.”
The White Sox set their 25-man roster on Saturday morning by optioning right-handed pitcher Dylan Axelrod to Triple-A Charlotte and reassigning RHP Brian Bruney, C Hector Gimenez, INF Rey Olmedo, LHP Leyson Septimo and LHP Eric Stults to Minor League camp.
With those moves, the White Sox have 12 pitches, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders set to break camp. Eduardo Escobar was selected as the final position player, as expected, while Zach Stewart and Nate Jones round out the seven-man bullpen.
In that relief crew, the White Sox have four players with 70 days of big-league experience or less and three in Addison Reed, Jones and Hector Santiago, with 30 days or less. General manager Ken Williams said Saturday that he knew two weeks ago Jones and his fastball in the high 90s would make the team.
“He’s not out of nowhere for us,” said Williams of Jones. “When you throw 97-100 mph with a hard curve ball, and I think you guys finally saw the changeup a little bit last night, which we developed when he went down to start a couple years ago so that he could have something … .
“When you throw, last night I think he was 98-99 and the changeup was around the 86 mph range with some sink and fade to it, along with the curveball that makes everything better when you’re just sitting, I think he got into trouble a little bit in spring when you’re just sitting on two pitches. Guys can guess, ‘Ok, I got to be ready for the 98, so let me guess on this.’
“But when you put another thought in their mind, then you have something to work with,” Williams said. “We’ve been impressed with his aggressiveness. He was a little geeked up last night, trying to make that last impression and walked the first couple guys but settled down and really got in the swing of things.”
Ozzie Guillen spoke with great passion on Friday night that he wasn’t worried about losing his job as White Sox manager, despite his team underachieving in the first half of the 2011 season and the White Sox having picked up his contractual option for the 2012 season. As he said on the day he was hired, and has said many, many times after that important day in White Sox lore, managers basically are hired to be fired.
Saturday’s pregame meeting with the media brought more heartfelt discourse from the White Sox manager, only this topic had more of a baseball-wide theme. Guillen would like to see more support for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, both monetary and in-person.
“Major League Baseball or the American League should make guys go see the Negro League Museum in Kansas City,” Guillen said. “They should make them go there and find out the real history of the game and the great thing about baseball.
“I don’t know why they’re not doing it. The Players Association should make it happen. First of all, help them with the museum and we can see what those guys went through to make us make a lot of money. Every time I go there I take my family there. Every year I stop by and have lunch out there. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”
In 2006, general manager Ken Williams and Guillen took the entire team to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum during the defending World Series champion’s first visit to Kansas City. Guillen hopes to make the trip during his team’s series this week, but will get there once before the end of the season with one more weekend series coming in Kansas City in September.
This topic came about Saturday with the Tigers wearing the jerseys of the Detroit Stars and the White Sox wearing the jerseys of the Chicago American Giants in the Tigers’ 17th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game.
“Little by little, you see the real roots and how much fun it was,” Guillen said. “I say that in 2006. I think MLB should have the rule that we have to stop by.
“Everybody that goes by Kansas City has to have a bus before you go to the ballpark and stop by about an hour, two hours. You will learn a lot and appreciate what you do right now.”
Craig Landis, the representative for free agent first baseman Paul Konerko, was not going to offer up much information in regard to the specifics of talks with the White Sox when approached Tuesday by a group of Chicago reporters. In fact, Landis didn’t want to talk at all about Konerko’s situation in the lobby of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.
Negotiations remain ongoing between the team and the camp of the White Sox captain, but Landis indicated no signing was imminent today during his very short conversation. Konerko has played the last 12 seasons for the White Sox, and bringing him back is the No. 1 priority for the organization at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings, according to general manager Ken Williams.
Konerko, 34, is coming off one of his best seasons of a storied career, during which he set career-highs in on-base percentage (.393), slugging percentage (.584) and total bases (320). Konerko also hit .312 with 39 home runs, 30 doubles and 111 RBIs, while providing stellar defense at first base.
Adding Konerko, whose five-year, $60-million contract extension ended after the 2010 campaign, would give the White Sox a powerful one-two punch to merge with newly-signed Adam Dunn. Williams explained on Monday how he was willing to wait for Konerko’s decision, having made it clear Konerko was choice No. 1, but also didn’t want to wait too long to miss out on other potential first basemen if Konerko elected to play elsewhere.
Rick Hahn will someday serve as a Major League Baseball general manager.
That statement is not so much a guarantee but more representative of one of the game’s top assistant general managers who definitely has earned a chance to run a team.
Hahn’s chance, though, will not be coming with the New York Mets.
On Friday, the Mets reduced their present general manager choices to the final two of Sandy Alderson and Josh Byrnes. Hahn and three other potential candidates who previously interviewed for the open position – Allard Baird, Dana Brown and Logan White– were informed by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and acting general manager John Ricco of the decision. Hahn issued the following statement about the process.
“All things considered – including several factors unique to the Mets current situation – I certainly understand the decision to go another direction,” said Hahn, in the statement sent via e-mail.
“I truly appreciate being invited to discuss the opportunity directly and candidly with Jeff Wilpon and others in the Mets front office and believe that Mets fans should be optimistic about the club’s future regardless of which of the remaining excellent candidates they ultimately choose.”
The 2011 campaign will mark Hahn’s 11th with the White Sox. Although he has been rightfully credited for his expertise in negotiating over $500 million in White Sox player contracts, he also stands as an adept talent evaluator and has formed a cohesive working unit at the top of the organization with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen.
One manager officially was taken off the 2011 open market on Monday.
After meeting separately with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Ken Williams, Ozzie Guillen told the media how he will return in 2011 and hopefully for years to come as the White Sox manager.
“I asked him directly: Did he want to be here? Did he want to be the manager of the Chicago White Sox? He said ‘Absolutely. That’s all I’ve ever wanted,’” said Williams of his talk with Guillen. “He said he never asked for an extension. The timing of something wasn’t commensurate with if he were to go down that road.
“He did want to know what his status was and I told him directly. I hope I never have another manager, at least while I’m sitting in this chair, I hope I never have another manager of the Chicago White Sox other than him.”
Williams said he will deny any team a chance to talk with Guillen if they asked for permission. Guillen, meanwhile, seemed happy to have this issue behind him.
“At least it’s out of my mind, what I need to know,” Guillen said. “What I need to hear. It’s out there, and now we move on and wait till the end of the season to start talking about the club and move on.”
Ken Williams has noticed a very specific trend taking place in regard to trade possibilities involving players on 40-man rosters who need to clear waivers between now and the end of August.
“There is a lot of claiming going on,” a smiling Williams told MLB.com prior to Thursday’s series finale with the Twins, before exiting the White Sox dugout.
A player on waivers can be claimed by any team, and if multiple teams put in a claim, the team with the worst record would have the player offered.
The original team then has 48 hours to work out a trade with the claiming team or remove the player from waivers. A player can be pulled back just once, but if he clears waivers either the first or second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any team.
Ozzie Guillen’s crew is a victim of its own success, meaning any team in the American League but the Rangers, Yankees, Rays and Red Sox, who have better records entering Thursday, can block a potential waiver wire deal with their claims. A National League player would have to make it through every NL squad and the AL teams.
Those factors lead Williams to believe the roster he has in place now is the roster that will be in place as of Sept. 1.
“I’m just assuming everyone is going to get claimed,” Williams said. “That’s how I go about it.”
And having the ultimate confidence in the White Sox actually becomes a bit of a moot point.
“Whether I do or don’t, it doesn’t matter,” Williams said. “This is what we got.”
The familiar refrain of “Stay out of White Sox business” turned to a little bit of funny business for White Sox general manager Ken Williams on Saturday afternoon. Williams used Gordon Beckham as the target of a well-crafted practical joke that would have made proud Dick Clark and the late Ed McMahon.
With about 10 minutes to go before Saturday’s non-waiver trade deadline, Williams purposefully walked through the White Sox clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field and stopped at the players’ dining area. Williams got Beckham’s attention and asked the second baseman to come with him to Ozzie Guillen’s office.
Earlier in the week, Williams had assured Beckham how he wasn’t going anywhere. So, needless to say, Beckham was stunned–much like the assembled media, whose jaws collectively dropped as Beckham walked away.
“He first invited Ozzie in and shut both doors,” said Beckham with a relieved smile, recounting the story after he was let off the hook. “I kind of thought I was going somewhere.
“Then he said, ‘Last night, your at-bat against (Brett) Anderson, where you hit it back up the middle, was just a great at-bat. Now get out of here.’”
But here’s the unintentional comic value of Williams’ move. He also caught Guillen off guard, with the manager sitting unaware of any last-minute trades in the coaches’ room when Williams came to get him.
“When you walk in on the trading deadline, No. 1, every player is looking at you out of the corner of their eye,” Williams said. “So, I walked in and called Gordon over and he had this look like ‘No. Really?’
“I called him into Ozzie’s office and Ozzie didn’t know anything about it, but he saw Beckham walk in and then saw me close the door. And he went, ‘No.’ The other coaches went ‘No.’ I had Ozzie close the door and sat Gordon down in the chair.
“Then I said, ‘Well, I would really like to say one thing to you before I get into the nuts and bolts of this stuff. That at-bat you had last night, where you pushed across that run, it was one of the best at-bats you had all year. I just want to say nice job.’ Then I shook his hand and he said, ‘That’s it?”
“And I said ‘That’s it,’” Williams said. “He had a sigh of relief. Ozzie had a sigh of relief and started cursing at me.”
One more layer of perfect timing exists within Williams’ prank. Just minutes before he called in Beckham, White Sox captain Paul Konerko threw out these words of wisdom concerning Williams’ deadline maneuvers to Beckham as the clubhouse carefully watched the deadline coverage on MLB Network.
“Konerko says, ‘You won’t believe this but one minute before you walked in, I told Gordon that this is about the time in the show where Kenny Williams says, ‘The (heck) with it. I’ll give you Gordon Beckham,’” said Williams with a laugh. “Then I walked in and called him out.
“We had a little fun with it. It’s anything you can do when you are playing well and have the intensity around you to lighten the moods up a little bit. It helps things.”
Quickly revealing the joke, though, brought the greatest happiness to both Beckham and Guillen.
“A lot of names come through my mind, where I was hoping ‘We got this guy, that guy and that guy for this kid,’” Guillen said. “(Williams) got everyone in the coaches’ room. He got everyone. It was a good practical joke, and at first, I don’t know what to say.”
“It was funny,” Beckham said. “I walked back in there and (Scott) Linebrink said, ‘That’s funny if you haven’t been traded before. When you have, that’s not that funny.’ It’s whatever. It was fun. We’re having fun.”
The White Sox almost had their much talked about left-handed run producer on Friday, except for the fact that this left-handed run producer decided not to join the White Sox.
Ken Williams confirmed to MLB.com during the White Sox 6-1 victory over the A’s at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday night how Lance Berkman used his no-trade veto power to nix a potential trade to Chicago. This piece of news was originally reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
“I can’t deny the truth,” wrote Williams in the e-mail. “It is what it is.”
The switch-hitting Berkman, 34, appears to be headed to New York, reuniting with one-time Astros’ teammate Andy Pettitte as part of the Yankees. Berkman has a .245 average this season with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs but did not make his 2010 debut until April 20 while recovering from knee surgery. He has six home runs in July, marking his highest monthly long ball output of the year.
Williams has another 16 hours or so to look for a bat of greater impact, although the White Sox offense has put up a .303 average over the last 27 games.
With less than 48 hours until Saturday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver trade deadline comes around, the White Sox are linked to approximately two-thirds of the current rumors flying around Major League Baseball.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported Thursday how the White Sox internally believe they were out of the Adam Dunn sweepstakes. Jon Heyman of SI.com said a three-way trade scenario involving the White Sox, Nationals and D-Backs, focused on Edwin Jackson to the Nationals, Dunn to the White Sox and pitching prospects to Arizona, still was in play, and later Tweeted how the Dunn battle could come down to the White Sox and Tigers, much like the battle for Johnny Damon at the start of Spring Training.
Other players linked to White Sox interest Thursday were Colorado’s Brad Hawpe, Houston’s Lance Berkman, Toronto’s Jose Bautista and the ghost of Babe Ruth. Ok, I’m kidding on the last one.
But as of Thursday, nothing seemed imminent on the White Sox trade front. Of course, that quiet could be the calm before the storm where White Sox general manager Ken Williams is concerned. By Saturday afternoon, the posturing from other general managers on the fence concerning moving top players will end either in a deal or said player staying put.
You can count on two White Sox-related factors to play out before 3 p.m. CT rolls around on Saturday. Expect the unexpected where Williams is concerned, with the last-minute Jake Peavy deal from the 2009 non-waiver trade deadline supporting that theory, and know Williams will not make a trade just to make a trade.
At 101 games into the 2010 campaign and the White Sox sitting at 57-44, the White Sox are who they thought they would be leaving Arizona in March. It’s just a bit more dramatic road traveled because of their horrible first two months. And while they are always looking to enhance a championship product, Williams doesn’t want to do anything to disrupt his group’s 33-11 flow.
“I don’t think Kenny will make a move just to make a move,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, prior to Thursday’s 9-5 victory over Seattle, completing a four-game sweep of the Mariners. “I think he will make a move if we really desperately need it.
“When you make a move, you’ve got to try to say who are the people who we’re going to bring in, who we’re going to lose, what’s our future, what’s our present. There are so many things involved, and I bet you he is doing all those things. Believe me, it’s not fun to be in the front office in this part of the year, always. If you’re a seller or you’re a buyer, you’re going to be involved with every conversation about it.”
It has been widely assumed how the White Sox are going after a left-handed run producer or a starting pitcher. But here’s three caveats to that particular idea: the White Sox could be looking to add a starting pitcher and a hitter, the targeted hitter doesn’t necessarily have to be left-handed and they ideally would make any move without giving up top pitching prospect Daniel Hudson.
With Minor League catcher Wilson Ramos going from Minnesota to the Nationals in exchange for reliever Matt Capps on Thursday night, the Twins improved their bullpen but still are a bit short in their rotation. The acquisition of Ramos also takes away White Sox Minor League catcher Tyler Flowers as a potential trade chip in a deal for Dunn.
Berkman looks to be on the block with the Astros acquiring Major League-ready first baseman Brett Wallace from the Blue Jays in an off-shoot of the Roy Oswalt deal. The 34-year-old switch-hitter could fit the designated hitter/first base description on the South Side and would be owed just $5.4 million for the remainder of this year, with a $2 million buyout for next year. Berkman does have a full no-trade right of refusal.
During Thursday night’s victory, the White Sox knocked out four home runs and 13 hits in the four-run decision. Granted, it was done against the hapless Mariners, but there could be a solid argument made to not messing with success or at least tabling any moves until August.
Guillen is one who didn’t see a move coming before Saturday, after not talking with Williams for the past two days, while the GM was involved in meetings. But much like the design of the Peavy and Rios deals from 2009, don’t count out Williams until the last moment on Saturday–especially if the team gets markedly better through the move.
“If Carlos (Quentin) swings the bat the way he did a couple weeks ago, we’re set,” Guillen said. “Everybody has to pull it together. We have to go and continue to do what we’re doing and see what happens. I don’t have any gut feeling. I just go by ears and day-by-day.”