Kenny Williams Pregame
Sunday, October 3, 2010
White Sox General Manager Ken Williams spoke to the media prior to today’s final game of the season:
“I’ve sat in this seat quite a bit this year and never once have I dreaded it as much as I do right this second because we have to go home. We have to go home because we weren’t consistent all year. Earlier in the year when we were pitching, we weren’t hitting very well for the first couple of months in the season, and it took some guys a long time to get going. You all wonder why I have such an intense demeanor in April and May and people always say ‘There’s 100 games left, there’s 100 games left.’ Well that’s the reason why, because every game counts. When you piss away as many games as we did early in the season and you rally in the fashion we did, it makes you that much more cognitive early in the season of what you need to do to be a survivor in the end.”
On the bond that has aspired over the course of the year with Ozzie …
“I would definitely say that and I’m glad he said it. We had a strong bond before March of 2010 and I don’t expect anything other than a great working relationship on the field and off the field. I guess I disagree with the ‘going through it’ part, that wasn’t much fun. But to be on the other side of some things and to have a greater understanding of things is a positive.”
Offseason plans for the team …
“I need to give myself a break here over the next couple of weeks because over the last month, I have been literally going through a countless amount of permutations every day, every night. Believe me, I can put down on paper, one hell of a team, but can you afford that team, can you acquire those players? We’ll see.”
How tough is the Konerko decision?
“Under my tenure, he is the classiest player to put on a uniform. I’m not just talking about on the field and in this clubhouse, I’m talking about outside the game as well. You’ll never hear me say a disparaging word against Paul Konerko. We don’t know how it’s going to play out. There are variables that we have to go through, we have to see where we are, project our revenues and see how the team fits as a whole. He’s got some things he’s got to work through in his mind as well. Whatever it is, if at the end of the day, even if we are the ones that choose him and he doesn’t choose us, you will never hear anything in the White Sox halls, a disrespectful word against Paul Konerko. He has been that good of a player but that classy of a man.”
Realism rather than optimism about bring Konerko back?
“Let me be clear on something. I think Jerry Reinsdorf, Ozzie Guillen and myself would like to have him back. Let’s be completely clear on that. Now, whether we can do that and whether than happens or not because of all the variables, I have no clue right now. But we’re clear with our desires as we sit here today.”
Do you think you might make more changes this year with the roster and such?
“I don’t think the volume of players is going to change simply because we have young guys that were able to come up and show that they can be the special players. The way Brent Morel has played third base, moving to his left, moving to his right, coming in on balls and hitting the ball to right field, pulling some balls inside, he has shown that he is ready to play here. When you look at the infield with guys like Morel, Ramirez, Beckham and not knowing where Paul is going to go, if you had to go with Viciedo, those are pretty good fits for a defensive unit out there that has offensive capabilities. There’s not a great gap of where we think we are and where we have to be. It’s a nice blend of veterans and youth. The problem is, I think we need, which I’ve always said from way back, we need some balance from the left side. Whether that’s A.J. coming back or going out on the free agent market or making a trade, we have to have some left-handed balance in the middle part of our lineup, or at least around the fifth or sixth spot.”
How much do you think the economy and attendance affect your payroll?
“How much? I don’t know. I’ll get the initial number in the latter part of October and then there will be another projection in November and then again when we head to winter meetings in December. When we start opening it up for season tickets yet another number. It’s kind of an evolving number. I just have to figure out what it is.”
Bobby Jenks …
“As I sit here right now, this is something we have to really evaluate strongly. I’m not going to talk about it right now but what I will say is that Bobby Jenks has been good here for a long time. That banner up there, he’s one of the reasons we have that banner. “
The importance of Jake Peavy coming back completely healthy …
“That hurt a little bit, losing one of the best pitchers in the game. That might affect you. It’d have been very nice to have him.”
Lineup plans …
“We’re going to try to get the best hitters on the market, from an offensive perspective. Like I said, we’ve got to get a left-handed hitter in here that can do some damage. Do you need power in the middle of the order in the American League? I have always believed that. One thing that you have to keep in perspective is, we have a team or are evolving into a team that has power throughout the lineup and it will be spread out because Morel, as you’ve seen, is going to grow into a little power. Alexei has his share. Beckham has his share. Flowers is going to be a guy. Viciedo, Rios, you’re got it throughout the whole lineup. I think we just need somebody to balance us out in the middle of it. It isn’t easy to get.”
How do Manny and Jones fit into next year?
“I don’t know yet. It’s too earlier to tell. I don’t know what their expectations are and I don’t know what we’re able to do.”
Disappointed that Manny wasn’t able to help more?
“As soon as Manny walked in the door, I noticed a little more life in the team. That was one thing we wanted to give to the team, a little bit of life, a little bit of backing front office to tell them we still believe in those guys. I think that eventually he did help. Did it manifest itself in terms of him actually doing things on the field? No, but his presence helped other guys in the lineup, especially those guys in front of him. It was a matter of him not having enough of at-bats before he got over to us. But I don’t regret it. He came in and worked hard and helped out a lot of the other guys with some of their approaches and hitting and talking through some thinking with them. He was a good citizen so, listen, if the criticism comes my way for going out and getting a guy who we thought would make an impact, I’ll take that. We want out and tried and did what we do. We gave it a shot.”