Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:05 pm
Kenny Williams said the White Sox were rebuilding.
He never said they were trying to lose.
He definitely never said that the White Sox were looking at a long-term rebuilding project.
The White Sox's decision to sign John Danks to a five-year, $65 million contract, after spending the first part of the winter trying to trade their left-handed starter, certainly caught people by surprise. But it may not be the complete about-face that it at first seemed to be.
First off, Danks is still just 26. Even when Williams was talking about rebuilding, he was primarily talking about getting younger. A 26-year-old lefty who has averaged 195 innings a year over the last four seasons fits in perfectly, once you're sure you won't lose him to free agency in another year.
Second, the White Sox knew they were never going to be able to trade high-priced players like Alex Rios, Adam Dunn or Jake Peavy, and almost certainly weren't going to trade Paul Konerko, either. It's not like they were ever going to slash their payroll down to nothing.
Third, the word in both the international scouting community and among White Sox people is that the Sox could be very involved in the bidding for 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who should become a free agent next month.
Fourth, the White Sox play in the American League Central. Yes, the Tigers look strong, the Royals are getting better and the Indians are trying harder, but this is not the toughest division in the game.
In fact, some White Sox people cringed when Williams began talking openly about "rebuilding."
"We are not rebuilding," one of them said forcefully.
Now, with Danks signed, some of those White Sox people were actually talking Thursday about what needs to happen for them to win in 2012.
Chris Sale needs to effectively take Mark Buehrle's spot in the rotation. Peavy needs to be better, a year further on from surgery.
Dunn and/or Rios need to bounce back.
Oh, and someone needs to take Sergio Santos' place as closer.
The Santos trade, to Toronto for pitching prospect Nestor Molina, is the only deal the Sox have made so far in their "rebuilding" winter. It fit the rebuilding mode, although it is worth remembering that while Santos has just two years in the big leagues, he is a year and a half older than Danks.
Perhaps the White Sox will still trade Gavin Floyd. It still wouldn't surprise anyone if they deal Carlos Quentin, especially with Dayan Viciedo waiting (and maybe Cespedes, too).
But a complete rebuilding?
No, that's the team on the other side of town.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 5:30 pm
When the White Sox fell five games out of first place in late July, general manager Ken Williams threatened major changes.
Now the White Sox are 6 1/2 games out, with 25 fewer games left on the schedule and with the first-place Tigers looking stronger than they have all season.
Could Williams attempt a late-August sell-off?
According to sources, the Sox put John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko and Matt Thornton on trade waivers Wednesday. While that doesn't mean Williams intends to trade any or all of those players, it's interesting because those very names came up when Williams was talking of changes last month.
Thornton is probably the most likely one to be dealt, given the number of teams that need left-handed relief and the fact that the White Sox have depth in that area.
Danks and Floyd would have great value, but both will almost certainly be claimed, which means Williams would only be able to deal with one team this month. Neither is eligible for free agency, so he could trade either one with no restrictions (if he wants to) this winter.
Konerko is a 10-5 player, which means he would need to approve any trade. It seems much less likely that he would be dealt, but sources say that White Sox players believed he would be shopped in late July if they didn't get close to the division lead.
They did get close then, and Williams' only trade was to send Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays.
They're not very close now, despite six remaining head-to-head games against the Tigers. The computers at coolstandings.com give the Sox a 10 percent chance at catching the Tigers (compared to 17 percent a month ago).
Posted on: August 24, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 8:18 pm
The Red Sox put Carl Crawford on trade waivers Wednesday, which means nothing.
The Reds put Ramon Hernandez on the wire, which could be more interesting.
The White Sox put John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko and Matt Thornton on, which may or may not mean anything.
The waiver process is theoretically secret and absolutely prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
Dozens of players are placed on waivers every day during August. Quite a few are claimed. Very few are traded.
Does it mean anything that the Rockies were awarded a claim on Wandy Rodriguez, or that the Giants were reportedly awarded a claim on Heath Bell?
Possibly. Or it could turn out meaning absolutely nothing.
Here's an attempt to explain to make a strange and complicated process a little simpler:
1. After 4 p.m. ET on July 31, players can't be traded without waivers until after the end of the season.
2. During August, teams routinely place nearly every player on waivers. Some they'd love to trade. Some they wouldn't trade under any circumstances. Sometimes they want to gauge interest. Sometimes they put players they're obviously not going to trade (Crawford, for example) on the wire to disguise which players they don't want to see get claimed. Sometimes they want a player to clear, sometimes they'd rather he get claimed.
3. If no team claims a player, he is said to have cleared waivers and then can be traded without restriction.
4. If one team claims a player, the team that put the players on waivers has three options. It can work out a deal with the claiming team, or simply allow the claim to go through, or pull the player back off waivers. If he is pulled back, he is basically untradeable for the rest of the season. Teams sometimes allow claims to go through because they want to be rid of the contract, as happened when the White Sox got Alex Rios from the White Sox.
5. If multiple teams put in a claim, the claim is awarded to the team that was lowest in the standings on the day the player went on waivers. If the teams have the same record, then the tie-breaker is which team finished lower in the standings last year. Then the process is the same as above, with the team having three options.
6. Teams sometimes put in claims in an effort to "block" players from going to teams ahead of them in the standings. The risk is that the claim can go through and the team ends up with the player. But sometimes that even works out, as it did when the Giants "blocked" Cody Ross from going to the Padres last year.
7. The process is theoretically secret, with massive fines threatened for revealing any information. That's why no one is ever quoted on the record until a deal is done, and also why information leaks out in bits and pieces, if at all.
According to sources, the Rockies were awarded the claim on Rodriguez, and the teams have until 1 p.m. Thursday to work out a deal. But as of Wednesday night, it appeared those talks were basically dead, because the Astros put a considerably higher value on Rodriguez than the Rockies do (and weren't simply interested in dumping his large contract).
Also, according to sources, the Giants were awarded the claim on Bell. Those teams have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal, and just as with Rodriguez, sources were suggesting that a deal is unlikely.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Yankees were awarded a claim on Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena. Those teams also have until 1 p.m. Friday to work out a deal.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 3:34 pm
Imagine if the trade deadline were this Sunday, instead of last Sunday.
Imagine if the White Sox were deciding this week, instead of last week, whether to blow up their team and turn into outright sellers.
You think the decision might have been different?
I sure do.
Remember where general manager Kenny Williams was headed, before the Sox won two of three games from the Tigers last week. According to sources, White Sox players believed that if they lost two of three or got swept by the Tigers, Williams would begin an all-out sale that could have included John Danks, Gavin Floyd and even Paul Konerko (who could have blocked a deal with his 10-5 rights).
Imagine how valuable Danks and Floyd would have been in a market short on impact starting pitchers. You'd better believe that the Yankees, among other teams, would have been asking.
Instead, the White Sox won two of three from the Tigers, and Williams held onto his players. He traded Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen, and explored deals for Carlos Quentin, but perhaps against his better instincts, he held onto the core of his team.
And look what has happened.
The White Sox have lost five straight. They've looked absolutely overmatched in the first three games of a four-game series with the Yankees.
And heading into play Thursday, they were 6 1/2 games out. The computers at Cool Standings gave them less than a 10 percent chance at winning the division.
Worse than that, your own eyes tell you they would have just as slim a chance of winning in the playoffs, if they could even get there. The five-game losing streak has come at home, against the Red Sox and Yankees.
That's exactly what some White Sox officials were thinking last week. The more White Sox people you talked to, the more you realized that they didn't like their team, and didn't see this group winning a World Series.
But they were just three games out of first place.
Now they're not, but now the non-waiver deadline has passed. It's very unlikely that Quentin, Danks or Floyd could get through waivers that would be needed for a trade between now and the end of the season.
So what happens now?
Maybe the White Sox make another run at the Tigers, helped by a schedule that gets easier for the rest of the month (the Sox play the Orioles and Royals next week). Maybe Williams looks to deal some players who could get through waivers.
And maybe now he blows up the team this winter.
Imagine if he could do it this week.
Posted on: July 31, 2008 5:20 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2008 5:23 pm
There's a real chance that Ken Griffey Jr. helps the White Sox offensively. Forget the .245 batting average he had in Cincinnati. Over the last 25 games, he's closer to .300, with six home runs and 25 RBIs.
"You make a mistake, he's going to hit it a long way," said one National League scout who has seen him play this week.
Here's the problem: To get Griffey in their lineup, and to get Paul Konerko (.214, with nine home runs all year) out of their lineup, Chicago has to play Nick Swisher at first base and Griffey in center field.
"Oh God!" another scout said when told of the White Sox's plans.
"I doubt he can do it," the first scout said. "That's a little bit of a stretch for me."
Griffey was once one of the best center fielders in the game, maybe the best. But he's 38 years old, and he hasn't played center field since 2006. In fact, scouts will tell you that Griffey is a below-average corner outfielder at this stage of his career.
There's a real chance that Griffey will be energized by moving to Chicago, and moving into a pennant race. It never really worked for him in Cincinnati, not the way it was supposed to when he left Seattle to go play in his hometown.
If the Sox could use him as a designated hitter, or even in right field, it would be hard to find any fault with this trade. The Reds are paying most of Griffey's salary, and the two players the White Sox gave up aren't their best prospects.
Griffey basically has to play center field. I'd love to say he can do it, because Griffey has been one of the game's great stars.
I'm just not sure he can.
Posted on: June 19, 2008 2:30 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2008 2:44 pm
White Sox fans are sensitive, and never more so than when their team is about to play the Cubs on back-to-back weekends. So sure enough, I heard from plenty of those fans when I wrote that they'd rather see their team sweep the Cubs twice than make it to the playoffs.
From RedHeadPaleHoser: "Do me a favor; unless you ACTUALLY get a quote from a Sox fan saying we'd prefer a sweep of the Cubs over a playoff berth, don't write it. Don't post it. Don't theorize it."
From Mark: "Your line about Sox fans prefering a sweep to making the playoffs is preposterous. I don't believe that for a second."
From Charles: WHO SAYS THAT? Is that a quote from an actual fan? Can you provide the name of whomever you interviewed for this piece? I don't know ANY White Sox fan who would rather see a lousy six wins against the Cubs over another chance at a World Series championship."
Yes, Charles, I'll tell you exactly who I interviewed. It was Paul Konerko, and here's exactly what he told me: "I've seen polls where our fans would rather sweep them in both series than make the playoffs. That shows you how much our fans care about it."
So there. Still got a problem?