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Optipessimism
06-08-2008, 09:30 AM
Going into this season I was about as pessimistic about our chances as a Sox fan could be. There was no way IMO that Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Jose Contreras would all come up like aces and no. 2's. No way. This team was going to finish third behind Detroit and Cleveland if it could hold off Minny and an improved KC pitching staff.

Now a week into June, it appears I was way off the mark as were many Sox fans. Of course there will be a couple posters that will say they had faith from the get-go and will try to make others eat crow, but I have to say, anyone who honestly thought our SP would look like this was either truly psychic or crazy as hell.

I still have my reservations about this team though considering Jose has been a 1/2 season pitcher since we acquired him and neither one of Danks and Floyd have pitched anything close to 200 innings in their careers, but as of right now, I think it's time to give KW some serious props.

Looking at this team as it is constructed, here are my ratings on the following moves Kenny has made:

5-Star Moves (getting a whole lot for nothing or very little):
1. Picking up Bobby Jenks for nothing
2. Trading Low-A prospect Chris Carter for possible MVP candidate Carlos Quentin
3. Acquiring Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd for Freddy Garcia who had only a few starts left before needing surgery
4. Dealing the proven veteran workhorse Brandon McCarthy, who has spent most of his Rangers time so far on the DL, for a current and likely future #2/#3 starter in John Danks, current reliever and possible future starter Nick Masset, and prospect Jacob Rasner
5. Signing Scott Linebrink, the best available set-up man out there, and only forfeiting a 2nd round draft pick in the process
6. Signing JD to a below market extension at the perfect time (that was ninja-like)
7. Extending Javier Vazquez. Well below market, well above league average production, and on top of that he's in his prime. He's the closest thing we have to a true ace, and he might actually be one.
8. Taking Gordon Beckham, one of the best available players in the first round of the draft, and then drafting Jordan Danks. I expect the Sox to make every effort to sign both of these guys. Whether or not these players pan out I think is irrelevant at this stage. It was just so refreshing to see the Sox take a couple of guys that they're going to have to go well over slot for.

4-Star Moves:
1. The AJ Pierzynski extension. Don't need to explain anything here. Good player, good value, great attitude, and a fan favorite.
2. The Buehrle extension. He's struggled at times this year, and with his stuff he always will when he can't pinpoint, but he's a fan favorite that would've really hurt to lose. His contract is below-market and in the worst case scenario it's not going to bog down the Sox like the crazy Zito and Schmidt contracts.
3. Signing Alexei Ramirez to a sweet deal. With his salary, if something happens and he goes down the tubes the team can cut him without skipping a beat. That's probably not going to happen because with his speed and his ability to play 2B, SS, and CF, he's at least market value if not below that as a bench player. As a regular his production so far as well exceeded his salary, and if he keeps it up, Alexei could be one of KW's greatest steals ever.
4. The Thornton extension. When he's off he's just another up and down reliever, but when he's on he's a great set-up man from the left side. With as cheap as his contract is, and with the price even mediocre to below-average relievers go for these days, Kenny did a fantastic job here.

3-Star Moves:
1. Signing Octavio Dotel. He's been great overall, but $5 million per year is still a lot of money. So far the acquisition has worked out great, but Octavio has choked in the past, and if he does his contract becomes an immediate albatross. It's too early IMO to say this is a great move or a bad move, so I think until we see how things you can't rate it as either. Unlike Linebrink, Dotel doesn't have that track record of being healthy and being nails year in and year out.
2. The Jose Contreras extension. Giving him the extension after '05 was a fan-pleasing move. He did enough IMO in '06 to win if we had some better balance in our lineup and a bullpen worth a ****. He sucked in '07 but that didn't matter because the whole team sucked in '07, and I'm actually glad he did suck, because had he been better those 6 or so games more we could have won would've done nothing but set us back further in the '08 draft. He's been terrific so far and, despite his age and the nagging injuries he seems to always have, he's a guy that will provide 200+ IP on a team that, when it's all said and done, will probably need it.
3. The Garland-for-Cabrera trade. I rate this 3 stars because with the way things look right now, we might not need either of these players that much. Alexei and Richar up the middle should be fine - they'll at least make for a sick defensive IF with some contact and pop - and Danks and Floyd, if they keep it up, will have replaced Garland. However, OC does add a veteran bat at SS that we may very well end up needing, while Garland is a veteran innings eater, and if we make the playoffs while Gavin and John are tired out from their first full MLB seasons, we may miss him a lot. This move is hard to gauge from a Sox perspective IMO.
4. Signing Toby Hall. We didn't need him in '07 anyway, and so far this year he's been great as a back-up.

Horrible deals:
1. Lumsden and Cortes for MacDougal. Ouch. At least it hasn't hurt the team on the field this year.

Unknown deals:
1. Richar for Cunningham
2. Signing Loaiza
3. Swisher for Gio, DLS, and Sweeney. It's way too early to tell with this one. Sweeney looks like he's going to be a nice MLB player if he can stay healthy. Gio has struggled some in the PCL, but he's still only 22 I believe and as long as he's healthy he should be at least a #3/#4 at the MLB level within the next couple of years. DLS had his surgery but still has an electric arm and as long as he can throw the ball he'll have the chance to be dynamite in an MLB pen if not as a starter. Swish has struggled mightily but he's a much, much better player than we have seen. Only time will tell on this one.

Other non-moves that have worked out very well:
1. Not trading Joe Crede for a piece of crap. Even though he's made a lot of bad throws down there at 3B, he's still made his typical great stops. His back is back and so is his bat. Prior to the season, cutting Joe and giving Fields a shot looked like a non-brainer for a club not expected to contend, but the team has become a legitimate contender, and Crede has worked out great.
2. Not giving up on Brian Anderson and sending him out for a bag of balls. In limited time he's shown a much better approach overall, and his attitude doesn't seem to be causing the coaches any trouble. He's a great defender in CF and still has a shot to realize his potential.
3. Not putting Jerry Owens on this team. Thank you Kenny.
4. Choosing Masset out of ST even though he didn't deserve it based on his performance.
5. Not dropping Uribe and eating his salary. Now that Alexei appears to have taken over the 2B job for the near future Uribe can become a very valuable a back up. Unlike Alex Cintron, Andy Gonzalez and the like of recent past, Uribe will only hurt you with the bat, not the bat AND the glove. Giving one of our MI the day off actually improves our defense and power at the plate. Not many teams can say that.

Overall, I can only see one move Kenny has made in regards to this year's team that can be regarded as horrible. Everything else has been good, great, or fantastic. Major kudos go to Kenny Williams.

Show Kenny the LOVE!

Gerry
06-08-2008, 05:55 PM
The only thing I really disgree on is Brandon McCarthy being seen as both a "proven veteran" and a "workhouse" of which he was and is neither. But that was a great deal, I didn't mind it at all at the time and I'm really glad it's panned out so far. Not only does Kenny Williams deserve major props, I think he deserves some apologies as well. I remember a few interviews on the radio on the Score and probably ESPN as well where the people interviewing him have literally chuckled and laughed AT Williams when he was talking about how he got everything he wanted in the off season. And then as soon as the interview was over they would blast him, just rip him apart. I know it's only June, I know the season isn't close to being over yet and a lot of baseball is left to play, but I think it's safe to say that Kenny got it right. It's up to the players now to continue and be consistent.

DickAllen72
06-08-2008, 05:58 PM
I've said it many times before and I'll say it again; "Kenny Williams is an outstanding GM."

Zisk77
06-08-2008, 06:09 PM
The only thing I really disgree on is Brandon McCarthy being seen as both a "proven veteran" and a "workhouse" of which he was and is neither. But that was a great deal, I didn't mind it at all at the time and I'm really glad it's panned out so far. Not only does Kenny Williams deserve major props, I think he deserves some apologies as well. I remember a few interviews on the radio on the Score and probably ESPN as well where the people interviewing him have literally chuckled and laughed AT Williams when he was talking about how he got everything he wanted in the off season. And then as soon as the interview was over they would blast him, just rip him apart. I know it's only June, I know the season isn't close to being over yet and a lot of baseball is left to play, but I think it's safe to say that Kenny got it right. It's up to the players now to continue and be consistent.


He was being facetious, thats what trib writer Rogers called Brandon.

Tragg
06-08-2008, 06:15 PM
3. Not putting Jerry Owens on this team. Thank you Kenny.
4. Choosing Masset out of ST even though he didn't deserve it based on his performance.
5. Not dropping Uribe and eating his salary. Now that Alexei appears to have taken over the 2B job for the near future Uribe can become a very valuable a back up. Unlike Alex Cintron, Andy Gonzalez and the like of recent past, Uribe will only hurt you with the bat, not the bat AND the glove. Giving one of our MI the day off actually improves our defense and power at the plate. Not many teams can say that.

Show Kenny the LOVE!
We have Ozuna to play utility infielder. I'd prefer a bench bat over Uribe.

Williams is an excellent GM.
I think both Williams and the field staff do an excellent job with pitchers, particularly young pitchers.
But I still take issue with the talent of evaluation of the field staff on some position players. Uribe wasn't moving from 2B, until he got hurt...and thank goodness Ramirez hit in his opportunity or Uribe would be back there.
The depth chart for the last outfield spot was Owens then Ramirez and then Quentin. That's not even close to reality if you're looking at baseball skill.

Goes back to Erstad is a ".400 quality hitter" I guess.

hawkjt
06-08-2008, 06:26 PM
Gordon Beckham just led Georgia to the College World Series with two homers today against NCSt.

Should be a good chance to see him in action the next week or so.

Kenny has giant gonads and should be complimented for his fearless trading cus he has hit more than missed.

Stringer
06-08-2008, 06:48 PM
But he didn't get Aaron Rowand for us in the off season

JB98
06-08-2008, 07:37 PM
I think KW is the perfect GM for the White Sox organization. He is never satisfied with anything, even when he has success. He is more relieved than happy after victories. He is totally miserable after losses. He is one of the more intense people you will ever meet in your life. He personifies the organization and its fans. Overall, I think he's done a good job in his tenure.

That said, I'll pat KW on the back if this 2008 club makes the playoffs.

Sox
06-08-2008, 07:43 PM
Gordon Beckham just led Georgia to the College World Series with two homers today against NCSt.

Should be a good chance to see him in action the next week or so.

Kenny has giant gonads and should be complimented for his fearless trading cus he has hit more than missed.


Kenny's son (Kenny Williams Jr.) is a pretty good ballplayer for Wichita State......wouldn't that be awesome to see his son in a White Sox Uni....

Boondock Saint
06-08-2008, 07:48 PM
But he didn't get Aaron Rowand for us in the off season

Good god, my eyes.

:tealtutor:

But I get your point. The Sox' money is much better spent in other areas. KW has done a killer job despite being bashed from all sides for the 07 season.

Hitmen77
06-08-2008, 10:38 PM
KW has quite an impressive track record with trades over the last few years. Floyd for Garcia. Danks and Masset for McCarthy. Quentin for Chris Carter.

I know McCarthy and Carter could very well have impressive MLB careers, but they are doing nothing for major league teams now.

Signing Alexei Ramirez, Linebrink, and Dotel are looking like great free agent signings for a supposed "fiasco" of an offseason.

One of the trades he gets the most criticism for is trading away Chris Young. Listening to the media, you'd think we gave him away for nothing. Never mind that we got Vazquez for him - who is now signed thru 2010 and has been very impressive for us.

The Swisher trade is certainly risky, but it might very well be huge for us this year if Nick indeed is heating up.

HangWiffum
06-08-2008, 10:51 PM
as much as i'm enjoying the way they're playing it's way too early in the season to either give kenny props or call him an idiot. the end result of the season is what i'll judge him by

Gerry
06-08-2008, 11:33 PM
No it's not. He's already been proven right with the McCarthy deal and Garcia deal. Those were both good moves by default because both Garcia and McCarthy are grabbing some bench, but they are even greater by how good Floyd and Danks are pitching. You can't say that the Quentin trade wasn't a complete steal, I mean come on. That guy looks like he is going to be good for a long time, as long as he stays healthy. Just those 3 moves right there are MAJOR reasons why the Sox are where they are right now.

TheVulture
06-09-2008, 02:51 AM
To me, last off-season's moves were setting the blocks to build a team for 2009. This year is just gravy and the future is looking bright.

guillen4life13
06-09-2008, 03:16 AM
To me, last off-season's moves were setting the blocks to build a team for 2009. This year is just gravy and the future is looking bright.

I agree. I also thought 2008 would suck but 2009 would be very exciting and the Sox would win a lot of games. I still see the Sox in transition, and it's going to be exciting to see the younger players really come into their own. I still have lots of optimism for Richar at 2B, and I see Alexei moving to SS next season. I just hope Kenny can re-sign Joe Crede to a decent deal.

It's funny. The Sox have a horrible farm system right now, but it's almost as if they're harvesting it right now. The current team is young and will be cheap for a while.

Kudos to Kenny. I didn't really fault him for this past offseason, but I didn't expect this team to compete. He obviously knew/knows more than I do, as he should. But I only see the Sox getting better and having a chance at creating a streak of playoff appearances.

Kenny Williams has evolved into being one of the best GM's in baseball.

Frater Perdurabo
06-09-2008, 06:39 AM
It's funny. The Sox have a horrible farm system right now, but it's almost as if they're harvesting it right now. The current team is young and will be cheap for a while.

I agree that the way the team is performing right now makes KW look like a genius!

If Fields replaces Crede, Ramirez replaces Cabrera, Richar replaces Uribe, Thome leaves and BA starts in CF (Dye to DH, TCQ to RF, Swish to LF), then payroll will decline significantly.

But I still wouldn't call it "cheap."

Contreras, Buehrle, Vazquez, Paulie, Dye, AJ and Linebrink all are making serious bank and their contracts mean the Sox won't/can't have a "cheap" payroll for several more years. Plus, Quentin, Jenks, Danks and Floyd all are earning serious raises.

white sox bill
06-09-2008, 07:41 AM
IIRC the Score interviewed KW the day of the McCarthy trade and I'm only paraphrasing but I believe he said "I feel we got TWO Bandon McCarthys for ONE Brandon McCarthy"

Optipessimism
06-09-2008, 08:59 AM
IIRC the Score interviewed KW the day of the McCarthy trade and I'm only paraphrasing but I believe he said "I feel we got TWO Bandon McCarthys for ONE Brandon McCarthy"
And it's actually turned out better than that, considering McCarthy can't do squat from the DL. We've got zero Brandon McCarthy's and I like it.

guillen4life13
06-09-2008, 10:20 AM
I agree that the way the team is performing right now makes KW look like a genius!

If Fields replaces Crede, Ramirez replaces Cabrera, Richar replaces Uribe, Thome leaves and BA starts in CF (Dye to DH, TCQ to RF, Swish to LF), then payroll will decline significantly.

But I still wouldn't call it "cheap."

Contreras, Buehrle, Vazquez, Paulie, Dye, AJ and Linebrink all are making serious bank and their contracts mean the Sox won't/can't have a "cheap" payroll for several more years. Plus, Quentin, Jenks, Danks and Floyd all are earning serious raises.

Well, if you wanna go that route, no team (including the Marlins, Rays, etc) is cheap. It's all relative. The young guys are due for raises but aren't going to be commanding more than $8mm/yr (if that) until they've been around long enough to declare free agency. Jenks is the closest to reaching this status, if I'm not mistaken.

Then you have Ramirez making $1mm/yr, while Richar, Danks, Floyd, Quentin, BA and Fields either going to arbitration or signing contracts to avoid arbitration.

The guys you mentioned (Paulie, Vazquez, etc) are making serious bank, but compare how much the Sox pay them to what similar players get on the free agent market, and you'll see that they're very good bargains (again... all relative).

voodoochile
06-09-2008, 03:45 PM
Watching this past week as the promise has started to be realized in players like Swish and Cabrera while old stalwarts have started to show signs of life has been one of the most amazing times I've had as a sports fan. Signs of the Cleveland/NY series from June 2000. I'm as proud of this team as I have ever been of any Sox team at the moment. The life, heart and over all drive they are showing is simply too much fun.

KW deserves huge props for making once again the right moves to turn a team with lost of question marks into a potential pennant contender.

I love this team and I can't say thanks to KW often enough for giving me such joy.

jabrch
06-09-2008, 04:44 PM
I agree that the way the team is performing right now makes KW look like a genius!

If Fields replaces Crede, Ramirez replaces Cabrera, Richar replaces Uribe, Thome leaves and BA starts in CF (Dye to DH, TCQ to RF, Swish to LF), then payroll will decline significantly.

But I still wouldn't call it "cheap."

Contreras, Buehrle, Vazquez, Paulie, Dye, AJ and Linebrink all are making serious bank and their contracts mean the Sox won't/can't have a "cheap" payroll for several more years. Plus, Quentin, Jenks, Danks and Floyd all are earning serious raises.


If all of that happens, we will be in line to spend serious money on SOME position somewhere.

This team has a current payroll over over 110mm. And we know if the fans keep coming, and we have the revenues to support it, management will keep spending.

That gets us the ability to sign Danks to 1st round money. Maybe we sign a few other of our HS draftees.

Maybe we are a player for Manny Ramirez or Mark Teixiera. Furcal is a FA. Maybe we are after him and planning to keep Ramirez at 2B? Who the hell knows?

Either way, I see no reason to believe this team won't contend all season.