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

What Williams said at SoxFest

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Here what White Sox general manager Ken Williams had to say at SoxFest over the weekend:


"The boos?"
"I thought you meant the booze."
"It kind of comes with the territory. When the team plays well, the players and the coaching staff get the accolades. That's great. It's it should be. When the team plays poorly, it's the GM and owner's fault. It is what it is. It's part of the deal.
But every time it happens. It seems like it's happened only two other times. In 2004 and 2007.

"You never know. Maybe the third time is a charm."

"I'm going to tell you a little story. It will illustrate to you I have perspective in this job. I walked into Chicago cut last year about 1-2 weeks before SoxFest and a friend of mine's birthday and walked into the dining room and walked in and one table stood up and started clapping and the whole dining room at Chicago cut started cheering."
So a couple days later my girl friend asked me, "do you get that? Does that happened a lot?' No, but it's happening more and more. But give me a little bit of insight what you're dealing with. I said that's today, if the same guys we just acquired in June aren't playing very well, it will be a complete opposite response and not only will I not get cheered, I will get booed and people will want to send me on my way for acquiring the very same players that they were cheering about a short while ago. I explained to her, and unfortunately it came to fruition. But it's the perspective that I've grown into to understand that's just the way it is. It's that's people are passionate about their sports and they have a right to point a finger at who they want.
I got broad shoulders so I would rather, over the years, I'd rather they point the finger at me rather than somebody who isn't as equipped as I am to carry the weight."

Is there money available to add a player(s)?
"No."

This is it?
"Tapped out."

Your roster

"Obviously, I felt better about it than a lot of the sentiment. I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to some of the off-season grumbling up until the past few days. You can always say I'm not too busy to listen to, but I like our team evidently a lot better than some others. We got a starting pitching staff that I'm confident in. We got a lot of bullpen options and a lot of young guys filtering in the starting rotation and the bullpen. We're going to need some bounceback from our veteran guys if we're going to compete.
We don't get it, we're not going to compete. These are just the facts at hand. We'll play good defense and smarter defensively because we got some guys filling into their major league shoes a little bit more and I hope that we have a relaxed environment and guys just focus on less than the numbers, but moreso on the experience of being in the major leagues and on a good team and have some fun with it. Be intense about it but play for the scoreboard and not the stats and do something on that given day to help win a game and let that be the focus."

Lillibridge possibly a backup infielder?

"Sure it is. Brent needs to bring all the gloves he's brought for the past couple years.
"Yeah, he can play shortstop. Will he play shortstop? That will be a Robin decision. I don't make that decision."

Reaction to Prince Fielder signing:
"I wasn't happy about it. It surprised me like it probably surprised a lot of you guys. It probably would have been worse if he was added to the club that had Victor Martinez on it. But right now they lost one good player and they added another good player and they're different kind of guys who bring different guys to the table."
"Listen, Detroit was going to be formidable anyway with Victor healthy. They just replaced a guy they went down on. It must be nice."

Can you operate with current payroll?
"No, we don't have to trim. We've had opportunities. But what we've tried to do we've looked into opportunities if we wanted to go into a full rebuilding mode, opportunities that would give us some of the top talent in all of the minor leagues. Well, that didn't materialize. So you try to give yourself the best chance of winning with the current roster. At the same time, hedge your bet and add a piece or two for the future as well. That's why you saw us get all the pitching with the moves. "

"More specifically, the only way I was going to trade a guy as valuable as Sergio Santos is if we got somebody back as valuable as the kid we did from Toronto, Molina. This young man is we think is a top of the rotation type of guy.

And we fully expected people to raise an eyebrow. But if I cared about that, then you wouldn't have a lot of guys that people were worried about losing this offseason. You wouldn't have had John Danks if we didn't take a similar move a few years ago. You wouldn't have Gavin Floyd. Some of the things have been done.''

Did you talk to veterans about what you have done and that you might chip away:

"Well, I don't know Paulie once we did, once we did have the conversation or once we did have the idea in our head that we might do something, we did consult Paul. He expressed to us that he had the confidence in whatever plan we were going with. We've been competitive every year he has been here with a couple of exceptions, and he was on board no matter what the direction was. He also thinks that we have the ability to compete this year. We just have to have some guys get back to themselves.

"So, it was also explained to him that as I tried to explain to you guys, I guess very ineffectively at the Winter Meetings, when I said rebuilding, nobody said anything about what I said immediately after that where I said there was not going to be a domino falling kind of effect. So what you got is a little bit of a hybrid.

On Cubans Cespedes, Soler

"I don't know who you are talking about.

Those are all just rumors. I don't know what you guys are talking about.

Somebody said I was there.

You think I should check into them?"

How important is good start for this team?

"Certainly, your position in the standings effects what you are going to do come June or July. Listen, given my druthers, I I would always like to be competitive and like to be aggressive. That is my nature. But at some point, and listen it's very difficult, especially with the kind of financial parameters you have, it's very difficult to compete for the length of time that we've competed and not have to have a tear down at some point in time.

I don't expect anyone to appreciate that who hasn't sat in the chair. But it is what it is. So, to kind of do a little bit of both what we've done if we can just get some guys to play back to where their career norms are then we can, I think we can still sustain that over the next number of years with the injection of young players we currently have now and expect to have.

I'm optimistic about today and I'm optimistic about tomorrow. The thing that is in my mind is you've got now some of the greatest players in the game that have now switched over to the American League. So, it's become that much more difficult now in the American League to. Some of the good teams out there just got better. So, at some point in time, we are going to have to probably get back to what has been more our norm over the last number of years which is the aggressiveness. But now this offseason, we just weren't in that position.''

On commissioner's award for White Sox:

"Well, I think we started it at the urging of the president a few years back. He's very passionate about it. We take it very seriously and it's our community responsibility and the people that have donated their time and their physical work that they put in has just been amazing. So, I can't say enough nice things, positive things, about these people. Not just fans, but they are just good people serving their community. They make us look good."


"They [prognosticators] picked us [to finish] first for a lot of years and unfortunately we didn't hold up our end of the bargain. In 2008 they picked us third. Where are we now? Third or fourth? Good. They're never right. They're wrong more than me."

Kyle Williams

"As a father it was absolutely awful. Even if it weren't my kid, I'd still feel bad for what happened. Through it all, the young man has shown me exactly who I thought he was, which is a man of character, a strong-minded, tough son of a gun. He's hurting right now and he's pissed, and he should be. Believe me, I'm not happy with some of the death threats and some of the things that are unfortunately part of our culture. I wish it weren't that way, but I have first-hand knowledge of it being that way. He grew up in a household where he knew exactly what to expect. He stood up in front of more media than I've ever stood in front of and told them exactly what he felt, and took responsibility. How can a father be anything but proud? It was explained to him that I was there, not for the football player - and he will always be in our eyes, not because of the football player he is, but the man he is."

"I have to give kudos to the San Francisco 49ers organization, too. They have put together something there where it's all for one and one for all. They all rallied around Kyle and it was not just about him. These are special people. They have a special program out there because the players care about one another and they stick together."

Harbaugh to spring training
"I think we can get to that point. After witnessing what I witnessed, I certainly am encouraged that you can get to an even higher level than we've experienced around here. I'll tell you another thing, Jim Harbaugh asked to come out to spring training and throw out the first pitch and hang out a little bit and be around baseball because he loves baseball. He has no idea, but he's going to stand up in front of the White Sox and talk about team leadership and togetherness. We need to tap into that a little bit."

Rebuilding

"Nobody reported that I said so much more after I said 'rebuilding.' No one said that it won't be a domino-type of rebuilding. It was replacing a veteran player with a young player here or there. I explored all the avenues so we could get an influx of as much talent as we possibly could. That didn't manifest into anything more than you see now, so we did a little bit of that to protect our future, and did some things to protect our present. Hopefully it's enough and if we have a need in the middle of the season at some point we can go out and address it."

Championship expectations

"I'm behind my own schedule. I thought by now I'd have a couple championships, but I'm not even up to my own expectations."

Beckham

"What's more important for Gordon this season, no matter how it turns out, is to play to win and have fun while you're doing it. Two goals for me for Gordon Beckham: Play to win and have fun doing it. I think the success for him will be there at the end if he just lightens up and goes back to being a game."

Talked to Adam?

"No. I have not. I wanted Adam to get as far away from baseball for as long as he could possibly go without even thinking about it. All a phone call would have done from me is make him feel that much closer to the game that I don't want him to feel right now. I'll talk to him on [Feb.] 22 (day before ST starts)."

Dunn 2011

"He never got it going. If I had to do one thing over, one singular thing over from last year, I would have sat him out a week longer, at least, after he had the surgery, and got him some at-bats in the minor leagues to get his stroke back. I take the responsibility for that."

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This page contains a single entry by Daryl Van Schouwen published on January 31, 2012 9:57 AM.

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