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WSI News - News Watch

Valentin wants winners; not big names

David Wells and Kenny Lofton each spent less than a full season playing for the White Sox, but their legacy lives on.

Wells and Lofton are prime examples of what can happen when a team brings in aging veterans to fill some holes. Not everyone is a good fit, and neither Wells nor Lofton did much to help clubhouse chemistry.

Sox shortstop Jose Valentin hopes the front office takes a different approach to the coming off-season.

"The last two years we tried to make the team better, and we did add a couple new players," Valentin said. "It hasn't been the best two years here. I don't know if we go back and go younger like we did in 2000, bring in players who really want to win, or bring in name players who are going to come here and not do the job. We've tried that twice. It's time to realize this is not about name guys. Just bring in players who really want to win.

"Do we need some players? I'd usually say yes, but with the team we have here now, I think we have enough to be a better team next year. I don't know what the boss [general manager Ken Williams] has in mind, but I'd like to see a team of players who want to come here every day and give a good effort."

Valentin said he wasn't implying that anyone had failed to give the effort. He just would like to see more of a commitment from some players who appear oblivious to the idea of running out every hit or playing a team game.

"If we're going to get beat, get beat the right way, by playing hard," he said. "I haven't seen that consistently. It's really disappointing when you know you have a better team, that you have guys in here who have the talent to be a winner, and we're not showing it."

Valentin will play shortstop in the Puerto Rican league this winter on the same team as second baseman Willie Harris, with roving minor-league instructor Nick Leyva as their manager.

"It sounds like I'm going to be the shortstop here next year," Valentin said. "With me and Willie there on the same team, we can get to know each other better. I think it's a good idea. I just want to know where I'm going to be next year. I don't want to go through spring training playing one position and then get switched to another."

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