Wednesday, December 9th
If the White Sox are unable to sign free agent reliever (and Matt Thornton buddy) J.J. Putz, I guess you can put the blame on Sun-Times Sox beat writer Joe Cowley. Joe reported yesterday that the Sox had asked Thornton to place a call into Putz about coming to the Sox. Once the story spread across the World Wide Web, Williams sensed a change in talks, and now feels like a deal won't happen.
"We thought we had something going on," Williams said. "But as I've told you guys many times before when things become public to a large degree the entire game changes and most times or not, you're not going to get a deal. So something we thought we might be a little closer on becomes public. Now it's not so close."
Don't buy those White Sox Hideki Matsui jerseys just yet.
Kenny Williams used his media session today to downplay reports that the Sox are close to a deal with the longtime New York Yankees outfielder.
"All I've said is he's a great player," Williams said.
Actually Kenny called Matsui a "good" player yesterday, so reading between the lines, it means...ummmm...nothing. Sorry.
He continued, "I never said that we were pursuing him. I'm not going to say that we're not because I don't know how the rest of the off-season is going to develop. But certainly in recent times I haven't had any discussions with regards to him. More interest has been written and spoken about than we've pursued recently."
One of the hurdles for Matsui might be his desire to return to the Yankees. However, with the Bombers getting Curtis Granderson and with Johnny Damon also a free agent, there are some serious question marks about what New York plans to do with its outfield.
Matsui might wait until he hears definitively from the Yankees about their plans before listening to other offers.
Still, Williams is up to something. If not Matsui, there could be another deal in the picture.
"I can do something within the next 5 minutes, or it could be nothing. I don't know," Williams said.
Minutes later, he then lowered expectations of a move when asked about the amount of money he has to play with. "We're tight. We're really tight. I don't know that we'll do anything. I don't anticipate it."
So there you go.
One of the most interesting comments from Williams came when he was asked about the Cubs Milton Bradley, who as I write this, is still Cubs property.
"The funny thing is, I've had the pleasure of talking to Milton in the past, and it saddens me to a great extent actually some of the things he's been put in or put himself in. I'd like to see this guy go out there without all the distractions and everything and do what he can do, because this guy can play."
Well, the White Sox can use a left-handed bat (or switch hitter in Milton's case) who plays the outfield, can DH, and has a high on-base percentage. Would the Sox dare enter the Bradley sweepstakes?
"I don't know that I see a fit for us," Williams said. "And I probably shouldn't even be talking about him because he's not our player, but Milton Bradley can play. And it's just too bad because he's a more thoughtful person and a better person than I think he has been portrayed or he's shown or however it has manifested itself. It's too bad."
Williams ended his Bradley comments with "I'm staying out of Cubs business."
But after his session with Chicago media, Kenny had other business to attend to, like the massive Japanese media contingency that was anxiously waiting outside the door, ready to pepper the Sox GM about Japanese icon, Matsui.
It was quite a scene. We'll have it for you tonight on SportsNite at 6:30 and 10pm.
Williams repeated his Matsui stance saying, "We haven't had enough substantial conversations with his representatives or himself to even think there could be a real possibility right now."
Whether the Sox get Matsui or anyone for that matter, Williams made one thing very clear.
"I will not disrespect anyone by calling them or making contact until I'm serious. And then when I'm serious about something, things move very quickly. We're either in or we're out."
Not sure if you've noticed, but a seismic dose of economic reality has hit the American League Central, and it has taken a thunderous whack at the White Sox main competition. In fact, the Sox should be theoretically better because their rivals are on the road to getting worse.
Let's take a look at the recent damage:
The Twins lost Johan Santana. They couldn't afford him. The Indians traded away C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Ditto and ditto. And now comes the latest exodus: The Tigers have waved bon voyage to Curtis Granderson, their center fielder, their leadoff hitter (tough to find, ask the Sox), not to mention their charismatic face of the franchise.
The Tigers did trade for and sign Miguel Cabrera to that monster eight-year, 156 million contract in 2008. Something tells me he'll be the next to go. Maybe not this year, but eventually.
So where did all of these former Central All-Stars end up?
Santana to the Mets. Sabathia to the Yankees (via Milwaukee). Lee to the Phillies. And now Granderson joins Sabathia in the Bronx.
See a pattern?
And what did the Sox rivals get in return? We'll probably know in a couple of years. But in the Twins case, the verdict is about to be read:
The Twins, guilty on all counts for not spending enough money.
Granted, they still made the playoffs in 2009, and were a Blackout game from getting there in 2008, but if they were able to keep Santana, arguably the best pitcher in the game, they could have gone much further.
But instead, the Twins traded him to the Mets before he became a free agent, and hoped the deal would give them a bright and cheaper future.
The trade hasn't been. Bright that is.
The key player for the Twins in the Santana trade was Carlos Gomez. Two years later, where's Carlos? Sent to the Brewers this offseason for J.J. Hardy. As for the three other players the Twins received, Kevin Mulvey was dealt to Arizona in September as the player to be named later in a deal for pitcher Jon Rauch. Philip Humber pitched nine innings for the Twins last season, giving up eight runs and nine walks. Deolis Guerra went 6-3 with 5.17 ERA in Double-A.
The Twins are hoping to see an added revenue stream in their new outdoor ballpark. But I'm not sure how many people want to eat frozen hot dogs come April and September. Maybe they can serve them on a stick.
What will Kenny Williams be serving when he meets with the media later this afternoon? Matsui on a platter? Putz a la king? Coco Crisp for dessert?
As the Sox GM said Tuesday, "We might as well do something. Jerry Reinsdorf is paying a lot of money for the rooms."