Results tagged ‘ Ken Williams ’

Williams still working to strengthen White Sox

When Ken Williams was asked during Sunday’s conference call as to whether more White Sox trades were possible before Tuesday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver deadline, the team’s general manager answered with one word.

“Yes,” Williams said.

That reply was followed by silence, a sort of dramatic pause.

Williams already has done major work on a White Sox team that surprised people even without the new additions. But when third baseman Brent Morel developed back issues and veteran Orlando Hudson wasn’t a fit at a position where he previously never had played, Williams went out and acquired Kevin Youkilis from Boston on June 24.

When he needed a veteran reliever to help his youthful bullpen, Williams picked up Brett Myers from Houston. And when the White Sox needed another quality, frontline starter to also help lessen the workload on young rotation members such as Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, Williams added Francisco Liriano Saturday night from the Twins. Utility infielder Eduardo Escobar appeared to be the only player given up in these three deals combined who still figured prominently in the White Sox future.

So, what’s left for Williams and the White Sox?

He still could add to the bench, with Rey Olmedo taking Escobar’s place as utility infielder and rookie Jordan Danks serving as the extra outfielder. Williams also could pursue another left-handed reliever to complete a veteran southpaw tandem with Matt Thornton.

Then again, where Williams and pushing toward the ultimate prize of winning a World Series is concerned, no trade, big or small, becomes unexpected at this time of year.

“You plot out a course and go down that course and try to take action,” Williams said. “If you lose out on one, turn the page and move on to the next.”

Scott Merkin

Rasmus could be on White Sox radar

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, trade talks between the White Sox and Cardinals centering on left-handed hitting outfielder Colby Rasmus have “accelerated” in recent days.

The report talked about right-handed starter Edwin Jackson, who will be a free agent after the 2011 season, or left-handed reliever Matt Thornton as potential St. Louis targets. Jackson could be moved without weakening the current rotation, as the White Sox are working with six quality starters, despite Philip Humber’s brief move to the bullpen.

Thornton agreed to a two-year, $12-million extension, with a 2014 club option, during Spring Training. The White Sox have three lefties in the bullpen, with Thornton, Chris Sale and Will Ohman, and were impressed with the work turned in by southpaw Hector Santiago during his short 2011 Major League stint. They already are loaded in the outfield, though, as shown by the lack of room to promote hot-hitting Dayan Viciedo from Triple-A Charlotte.

Adding a talent such as the 24-year-old Rasmus would not lessen the White Sox pursuit in a very winnable American League Central but also could help fortify their future base.

When asked for comment Sunday about the matter, general manager Ken Williams told MLB.com via e-mail he will be available to chat on Monday after Ozzie Guillen’s pregame press session. Jackson, who earned the win in Sunday’s 4-2 victory over the Indians, already had heard the rumor but took the trade rumblings in stride.

“My name is in trade rumors every year,” said Jackson, who has been traded four times. “It’s been like this for the last five years. It’s definitely nothing I worry about. I can’t control it. I just want to play wherever I’m wanted to play.”

The Cardinals know that even in a down year, Rasmus has significant value, and it’s difficult to envision them moving just to move him. His challenges in adjusting to the pressures of being the most hailed Cardinals prospect in ages are well-covered, but even so, he’s a young, high-ceiling, cost-controlled player at a premium position that has value.

Thus, while St. Louis is surely listening on Rasmus, actively shopping him is a separate question. And in any deal where Rasmus was moved, it’s hard to imagine the Cards wouldn’t get more than a rental starting pitcher. They would almost certainly need to get some kind of significant prospect or young, team-controlled player who could be a solution somewhere for a few years.

Still, Rasmus’ playing time has diminished as a result of his slump, and the Cardinals appear more and more comfortable with Jon Jay in center field. They also have Allen Craig on the mend from a knee injury, and though Craig is certainly not a center fielder, he would replenish the team’s outfield depth in the event of a move.

– Matthew Leach and Scott Merkin

Nothing imminent on Konerko

Craig Landis, the representative for free agent first baseman Paul Konerko, was not going to offer up much 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 team at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings, according to general manager Ken Williams.

Konerko, 34, is coming off one of the 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 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 baseman if Konerko elected to play elsewhere.

–Scott Merkin

Williams avoids Gonzalez-Beckham trade rumor

Before there was Adam Dunn, was there almost Adrian Gonzalez for the White Sox?

According to a Monday Tweet from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the White Sox were the runner-ups to Boston in the Gonzalez derby. He added how the White Sox offered second baseman Gordon Beckham and prospects but were turned down.

White Sox general manager Ken Williams wouldn’t talk about any trade rumor when speaking to the Chicago media on Monday. But he finished up his comment with an indirect indication as to how Gonzalez would be considered a White Sox target.

“All I can say is that it’s always been business as usual for us and we try to go after impact players every year,” Williams said. “But I’m not going to get into the particulars of those types of things.”

Beckham, 24, struggled through a miserable first of the 2010 campaign, hitting just .199 as late as June 23. But Beckham hit .310 the remainder of the season.

This bounce-back effort from Beckham earned an extra dose of respect from Williams moving into the 2011 season.

“I’m more so confident that he has now gone through some struggles that you go through as a big leaguer and he’s come through it on the other side,” said Williams of Beckham, who hit .252 in his sophomore season, with nine home runs and 49 RBIs. “It’s just unfortunate that he had the injury. He was having quite a second half. That Chicago tough that I talk about, he showed some a little bit of it in doing what he did.”

Roundup: Buzz says Oswalt in, Werth out in Philly

In need of a starter for Saturday’s game, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. cryptically said Tuesday: “I think we we know exactly what we’re going to do.” Perhaps a starter, like Ben Sheets, Dan Haren, Jeremy Guthrie or Roy Oswalt is headed to Philadelphia? The club optioned Kyle Kendrick to the Minor Leagues that same day, and later that night, veteran Jamie Moyer sustained an injury that will likely put him on the disabled list, so starting pitching is needed in Philly. 

ESPN.com wrote about “indications” that the Phillies were in the midst of a “major deal” to acquire a starting pitcher in hopes of salvaging their season on Tuesday night. But on Wednesday afternoon, they followed-up by reporting that Oswalt “could be on the verge of blowing up a potential deal,” since he wants any team that acquires him to guarantee his $16 million option for 2012. For now, the Phillies are balking at that offer. ESPN.com added that it’d probably be J.A. Happ moving in an Oswalt deal, and the club is also looking to move struggling outfielder Jayson Werth (a free agent after this season). 
Astros owner Drayton McLane told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart that no deal involving Oswalt appeared imminent as of Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, Oswalt — owner of a full no-trade clause — told reporters he hasn’t been approached about any possible trades. 
With less than two weeks remaining until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, here’s more buzz from around the league … 
* The White Sox, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, are “trying to accelerate talks” with the Brewers for slugging first baseman Prince Fielder. The problem, Rosenthal notes, is Milwaukee wants a starting pitcher, and they view trade candidate Daniel Hudson as only a middle-of-the-rotation starter. White Sox GM Ken Williams said recently that the market was not to his benefit
* The Mets reportedly signed Chad Cordero to a Minor League contract on Wednesday, but they apparently want even more relief help. FOXSports.com wrote that the Mets are currently focused on the relief-pitching market and are eyeing the Pirates’ Octavio Dotel and the Blue Jays’ Scott Downs
* Seeking bench strength, the Yankees are looking into the Indians’ Jhonny Peralta and the Marlins’ Wes Helms, according to Rosenthal, who added that the price for Jose Bautista and Ty Wigginton were too high. 
* Pedro Martinez will not pitch in 2010, his agent, Fernando Cuza, told ESPNDeportes.com. But he has not officially retired. 
* The Giants, Tigers, White Sox and Braves have inquired about Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reported via Twitter. 
– Alden Gonzalez

Current market not to White Sox benefit

Ken Williams doesn’t see a possible trade fit for his American League Central-leading White Sox at this point and time, with just 11 days remaining until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The White Sox general manager does not want to disrupt the outstanding chemistry and camaraderie forged by his current group, which has fought its way back from 9 games out on June 8 to hold a 2-game lead entering action at Safeco Field on July 20. But currently, the asking price simply remains too high for potential targets.

That high price basically means Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin, John Danks and Gavin Floyd, established players on the Major League roster holding high interest from other teams, won’t be going anywhere.

“We are looking to add, not subtract,” Williams told reporters before Monday night’s 6-1 victory in Seattle.

“If I’m being honest and completely transparent right now of the price that is being asked for some of the players that we’ve inquired about, for us, it’s more detrimental to our present and our future than we’d like,” Williams continued. “We’ll see how that develops. But right now, I don’t see anything materializing.”

Of course, with Williams’ aggressive nature, that outlook could change in  a day or two. Williams also wouldn’t rule out a move being made after July 31, as the White Sox executed last Aug. 10, by claiming center fielder Alex Rios off of waivers from Toronto.

Scott Merkin

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