Message Boards  

 WSI Photo Gallery  

Post of the Week  




  2013 White Sox  

 Season Schedule  


2005 Championship


WSI Extras  

 WSI Interviews

  Audio Memories

  2002 Disaster!

2001 Season Fun!

2000 Champions!

Fun & Games

History & Glory

Sox Greats
Sox Quotables
Sox Fight Songs
Old Comiskey Park


WSI News - News Watch

Williams getting known as risk-taker

March 24, By Sam Smith; Chicago Tribune

Word had filtered back to White Sox general manager Ken Williams that people in the business were talking about him and his moves, and the word had come from a longtime baseball executive.

Williams, they were saying, was making the kinds of moves that can cost a man his job.

Williams laughed when relating the story.

"I make the deals that can get us a championship," Williams said. "They say you're hired to be fired. Every decision, every move you make has the potential to backfire."

Williams is out on a limb again. He has taken a chance on Kenny Lofton, coming off his poorest season at 35, and he gave up pitchers Kip Wells and Sean Lowe for starter Todd Ritchie. What if Wells or Lowe turns out to be a great young pitcher instead of the ones he kept: Jon Garland and Dan Wright? What if it's another David Wells year?

It could be, but Williams, 37, the second-youngest general manager in baseball and only the third African-American in that job, is establishing himself as one of the top young executives in team sports because he's not afraid to make those kinds of moves. It is what separates the crowd from the elite.

In basketball it has been Jerry West of the Lakers. West traded for troublemakers like Benoit Benjamin and Cedric Ceballos. Top executives assess needs and seek out talent. If it doesn't work, they try again.

That has been the philosophy of Williams, and it could get the White Sox back in the playoffs.

"The way we'll be measured around here the next few years is on the acquisitions of veteran players we bring in to try to solidify the mix," he said. "That's part of the plan, one that started five years ago when we decided to draft all the pitchers."

It's what got the White Sox a valuable veteran in Ritchie, the kind of pitcher they cannot get in the open market.

"We're not going to be anyone's highest bidder," Williams conceded.

White Sox fans may not like that, but it's a reasonable reality. After all, with your own finances, do you buy a $5 million home and then hope to hit the lottery? No, you examine your income and purchase what you can within your means. The White Sox drew 1.7 million fans last season, so they cannot have the budget of the big-spending teams. Buy some players, you say, and fans will come. It hasn't happened yet.

So Williams takes chances.

The Sox loaded up on young pitchers with the idea of trading some eventually for a veteran they normally could not afford. They sought out a bargain like Lofton, a need defensively as Royce Clayton and Sandy Alomar were last season. Address needs, take chances and live with the results.

"We knew we were going to have a good, young offensive core," Williams said of players such as Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee. "We realized at some point we were going to be good enough we'd have to determine which players are part of the core. Those that are not we'd move them to acquire the necessary pieces. When we play the free agent game, it's much different than when the Yankees or Mets play it."

So they sold Chicago to Lofton, the opportunity, the organization. Lofton talked to Alomar, Clayton and eventually took less than he could have received elsewhere.

"To use a college basketball term, we had to sell the program," Williams said.

It will be easier next time if they have success.

"We're going to score our share of runs," Williams said. "It's going to be tough to keep us down one through nine. Defensively Carlos has really been playing well. He's going to provide you with much more offensively [so] the occasional blunder out there is not going to kill us. And Lofton has been a tremendous influence on Ray Durham.

"We've done a lot of research on how much poor defense costs you in relation to wins and losses. The American League for some time has been an offensive league. You can survive some defensive shortcomings if you cover it up with your offense. For me it's a difficult thing to subscribe to. When I envisioned putting a team together it was the old adage of pitching and defense. But you'd better be able to score runs in this league.

"Our pitching right now, there appears to be a question on how we'll do," Williams admitted.

"The leading issue is whether the rehabbed guys will come back. But I believe we're strong enough in the back of the bullpen, and though we're short a left-hander, [Bob] Howry, [Antonio] Osuna and [Keith] Foulke have histories of getting left-handers out.

"If our Nos. 3, 4 and 5 starters can get us continually into the fifth and sixth inning, we can shorten the game with the bullpen.

"And when these [young pitching] guys get to believe in themselves as much as we believe in them, we'll have something."

And if they don't, Williams has some ideas, you can be sure.

1 to 1 of 1

Search For:
Search in:
And in:
Any Words All Words

News Categories

Totally biased Sox news from White Sox Interactive!

EXCLUSIVE Sox features from WSI.

Full Sox coverage featuring the unique WSI slant!

The Totally Biased Game Recap, another WSI EXCLUSIVE!

YOUR chance to be featured at White Sox Interactive!

The funniest and most-noteworthy posts from the Sox Clubhouse message board.

The internet's largest FREE Sox news database, sorted by month.

The internet's largest FREE Sox news database, sorted by day.

News Watch

Sep 14... McGrath's Last Gaffe?

July 15... Lipinski resigns; Trib still shackled!

Apr 13... Second City Rogers votes for Mediocrity (Again)

10/7... Gratuitous slap at Sox by McGrath, Rogers

4/9... Good News for Chicago & Sox Fans!

3/25... Trib's Last Hope: Zell Bust Up!

4/8... Bias be damned: Cubune CEO says keep Cubs!

10/30... Cubune pours cold water on Sox championship

10/3... Pot Smoking leads Cubune's Sox playoff coverage!

9/29... Cubune chokes on Sox success

WSI News System Page Views: 29,871,595