Ken Williams on the White Sox
Monday, July 25, 2011
Ken Williams on the Week Ahead
White Sox general manager Ken Williams met with the media today during batting practice and offered a few of his thoughts on where the club stands, the week ahead and how fans should react to all the trade-deadline speculation:
Q: A week before the trading deadline, where are you now?
“Like Ozzie and I were talking about prior to coming out here, this year is a little different because we don’t really know where we stand, and to a large degree, over the next six days, we’ll find out, and we’ll have a better idea. I’m going through the normal drills but with different plans.”
Q: Is there a number set in your mind to decide what you’re going to do?
“This is tough because you look back at the early part of May and you look at the overall body of work that they put in. We were 10 or 11 games over .500. We’re over .500 versus the ‘better’ over .500 teams. What’s inexplicable is how we’ve played against some of the ‘lesser’ teams, which, in the American League, I don’t know if you can say that about anyone…teams that we feel we should definitely beat, which is why it makes it difficult to get a gauge on this club. We still have not played on all cylinders, so what do you do?”
Q: Is this the toughest year you’ve had to read a team as a GM?
“Absolutely, because on one hand, you can look towards potentially adding, and we’d have to add creatively because of the financial situation right now … on the other hand, maybe this is the most opportune time to turn over the entire roster to get some young, exciting players in here and go that route. To a large degree, like I said, it won’t be me deciding, or Ozzie or the other coaches or Jerry…it will be what they do, they’ll tell us.”
Q: On adding younger talent to help the team now and for the future:
“Believe me, it’s very difficult for me to put my arms around the concept of taking the (position) that we’re not going to be competitive, because you look on paper, and you’re hopeful that we’ll start to play like we’re capable of playing. It’s very difficult to shift gears. I personally am more on the same mindset that I always have been, and that is, ‘Who is the most impactful player that we could go out and get to help our situation?’ But that isn’t so much of an option right now because you need finances to do that. And it might not be the best thing for now. There may be a mix, a formula, where we could go into it and do a little bit of this and a little bit of that where we don’t hurt our chances for this season and help our chances for future seasons.”
Q: Are there deals to go younger?
“Yes, there are some very interesting deals that could be had. We have some very popular players.”
Q: On saying that the next six days will tell (whether or not we’re buying or selling):
“I wouldn’t say that I won’t do anything before then, but you shouldn’t read into that. It’s just that I think … Certainly we need to wait to get on the other side of the Detroit series….I’m not trying to pretend with you guys that I have any answers. You guys have been watching this team all year, anybody got any answers? If you do, please speak up. (We have) a lot of questions for me and them, for everyone. It is what it is, and at the end of the day, I’m the one that puts them in uniform and at the end of the day, I’ll fall on the sword if need be. But again, at least we’re sitting here in this position saying that if we play near our capabilities, we can win this thing because we have that kind of talent. It’s much better than sitting here being 4.5 out and saying to yourself that you just don’t have the horses. The pitching staff has been exemplary and has carried a heavy load and now it’s time for us offensively to fight a little harder and more consistently. Coming out of the gate and beating Detroit, two out of three in Detroit and beating Cleveland twice, that’s a source of optimism. I guess the whole road trip we were just a few hits from winning each game.”
Q: Is this a more difficult trade market than last year?
“There are always challenges, and you always have to, in our situations over the last number of years, you have to do some things and be creative. You have to do some things that some may think are unorthodox, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. You just try to do the best you can to fit the pieces together. The difficult part is that Ozzie and I have probably never had a conversation like the one we had before batting practice. It was one in which we don’t have a whole lot of answers right now. Collectively, we don’t have any answers as to why we haven’t been able to sustain any kind of streak. It has been a struggle to get where we are. We’ve given a lot of games away.”
Q: On interest in popular players on the big league roster:
“That’s what people are coming after. General Managers are sharks in the water. There’s a lot of them pulling for Detroit this week, I know that for a fact even though they won’t say it to my face and say it behind my back.”
Q: On the pitching thus far:
“They’ve carried a heavy load, both starters and relievers all year. Teams are interested in our players across the board. I don’t want to go too much further than that because it gets too narrow as the interests are out there. I want the focus to be on the games out there so that we can put ourselves in the position to add and not subtract. I would much rather fight the fight, but we need to see a little more consistency and this would be a good week to start showing it.”
Q: On the possibility of saying goodbye to some players:
“It’s been 11 years, and I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of guys that I have affinity for. That’s the worst part of the job. We’ve got a bunch of professionals and they know the deal, they know what’s at stake and let’s hope we don’t have to do that.”
Q: On the Colby Rasmus rumors:
“I’m not going to get into who we’re talking to or what sort of deals are out there for us, but that, as reported, is incorrect. Here’s the deal: you can virtually speak to most of the teams with impact players at any given time where there’s any kind of trade talk, and you can put us in a room because we are constantly, aggressively asking how we can acquire an impact player to help our situation. It’s easy to get it wrong, too. Generally, the things you’re hearing in public too loudly, don’t usually happen for us. Seems like the things that we’re able to get done, we get done and make the announcement.”
Q: On more speculation:
“I won’t say that I won’t be frustrated about the reports, but I’m not yet. If it inhibits us from doing something we want to do—because once public debate enters into play, I don’t necessarily back off that, but sometimes another club wants to trade a popular player and it’s debated publicly, that player will be pulled back. I try to avoid it whenever possible and certainly our guys that are in the inner circle know what’s going on and how to protect those sorts of things.”