Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Sox land Alex Rios off waivers

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AlexisRios2008Season.jpgSEATTLE - Quite the Monday for Ken Williams.
First the White Sox general manager got Alex Rios off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays and then he got a ticket for jaywalking outside Safeco Field.
One will cost him a small fine. The other could further define his legacy on the South Side - one way or the other.
In what could only be described as "shock'' by not only players like Jermaine Dye, but even by manager Ozzie Guillen, Williams sent a text to Guillen before arriving to the ballpark to let the skipper know that they had added the 28-year-old outfielder to the roster, as well as Rios' guaranteed $59.7 million contract that runs through 2014.
"I told you guys when Kenny is going to make a move, it stays with him,'' Guillen said before the game with Seattle. "Maybe he cannot trust me. He might be scared when I talk to the media with a mic. But it was great news, pretty good headache.''
Make that a big headache.
First, Williams had to go to his owner and justify to board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf why it would be a good idea to take on more than $115 million in payroll with Jake Peavy last week and now Rios, and then he had to make sure his current players understood that while playing time will be cut for almost everyone, winning was the top priority, outweighing egos.
"We've been in trade discussion with Toronto before the deadline to try to get this guy,'' Williams explained of how the whole thing came together. "And the way the waiver claim was made was to A: hopefully resurrect talks. B: in the event someone else claimed him, we didn't want him going elsewhere because we targeted him not only as a guy who not only would help us in our quest for the division but future seasons as well.''
Asked how Rios will fit in, Williams said, "All of [the current outfielders] need breaks, too. ... And what that also does for you in this season is by having that versatility and strength, a guy like a [Mark] Kotsay will be on the bench if he's not in the lineup and it will be one of [Scott] Podsednik, Rios, Dye or [Carlos] Quentin that's also on the bench. Your bench, all of a sudden, you have right-handers and left-handers and speed coming off your bench. And will aid you late in the game.
"Make no mistake, Ozzie has complete control of his lineup, so he'll ultimately determine what the best matchups are. But we think now that with the addition of this guy we can play amongst the big boys. We just have to get ourselves into a more consistent mode of play.''
The other question Williams had to answer was his saying he made famous of "You can't spend a dollar if you only have 50 cents,'' was once again stated earlier this season when the team's finances and attendance was brought up, with Williams painting a bleak picture of both. So what changed?
"If we don't win, [Reinsdorf] and I might need second jobs,'' Williams said laughing. "We're out on the limb a little bit with the last two acquisitions but we have seen in recent games our fans are starting to wrap their hands around this team. The walk-ups have been great, and people are getting excited about the possibility. I think they can see this team being a dangerous team if we get to the playoffs and match up against anyone.
"We just need to win the games that we're supposed to win now.''
Rios was expected to arrive in Seattle before Tuesday's game, but might not play until Wednesday. How often he plays, well, that's Guillen's cross to bear now.
"I already had a meeting with a few guys [in the clubhouse], and I will sit down with [Rios] and talk about it, but everybody is going to have playing time,'' Guillen said. "How we're going to do it? Between myself and Joey [Cora], we're going to figure out how we're going to pick days off for anyone. We're going to bounce guys around. In the meanwhile, I'm going to go with my best lineup, but I don't want long faces. I don't want people to feel left out, I don't want people to feel they're not part of this ballclub anymore because we're here together and we're here together to win.''

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5 Comments

Definitely am a Life-long, Die-Hard Cubs Fan, but there is no way to deny that Kenny Williams is a better GM than his counterpart on the Northside. Good move, Kenny, and congrats to Sox fans for a job well done by your GM.

The big question for the rest of 2009 is if Pods, Dye, and company will accept the possiblilty that they will not be here in 2010 but yet go all out. There seemed to be a lot of worry about individual futures from a few comments I read.

Rios is talented no question about that. A chance of scenery should also revive his career. Early on I see a trade that favours the White Sox but two years from now I see Chicago trying anything and everything to dump Rios' contract. Rios is prone to bouts of laziness and attitude

will bacon continue to wear #15 or will rios buy it from him?

"Bacon" is the best somebody can come up with for Beckham? Very poor. "Savior" was funny and original, but the lame "Bacon" tag has to go. I'm glad there are many more humorous Sox fans out there besides "Dubs".

It will be interesting to watch team chemistry over the next week or so to see the immediate impact of the Rios acquisition on the team. No rumors circulating about any other deals, so it looks like Quentin, Podsednik, Dye, Thome, Wise, and Kotsay will all have to accept their new roles however they are defined.

Gutsy move to make in August. I'll give KW that.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on August 10, 2009 8:45 PM.

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