Monday, June 28, 201011:59 AM
By Chuck GarfienCSNChicago.com
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Twins and Tigers, heres a message coming from the front office at U.S. Cellular Field:
"Trader Kenny" is back.
All it took was that incredible 11-game win streak which not only got the Sox back into contention at lightning speed, but allowed Kenny Williams -- one of the most vigorous GMs in baseball -- to do a complete 180.
Two weeks ago he was selling. Now, as Williams tells Comcast SportsNet, he is ready to buy. They are words every White Sox fan wants to hear around this time of year. And now, theyve got them.
"At this point now, obviously we have climbed back into it," Williams said. "Well go back to taking the aggressive stance that weve had previously and have conversations of how we can get better.
And how can they?
The two biggest names out there, in terms of stature, fit, availability and clothing size are left-handed power hitters Adam Dunn and Prince Fielder. Theres also switch-hitting first baseman Lance Berkman and, of course, Adrian Gonzalez.
Back in spring training, Williams admitted that he entered the season concerned about the Sox lack of thump from the left side of the plate. He still does. Is that something hed go after?
"I think its something you have to take a look at," Williams said.
But before you pencil in one of those burly bats between Alex Rios and Paul Konerko in the Sox lineup, Williams continues to support the wishes of Ozzie Guillen, who has told his boss that he can win with this team and doesnt feel the need for a full-time DH.
Just because you have a name player, for instance, who comes in, if the players and Ozzie dont believe in the fit, if that particular player needs to play every day to keep his timing and Ozzie has different plans for mixing and matching the way he has, and thats been successful, I think you have to defer to that, and I also think you have to consider all of the peripheral things that go into the equation.
So far the combination of Mark Kotsay (.213 batting average) and Andruw Jones (.203) have not equaled production at the platoon DH position. In fact, Jones has been M.I.A. for the last month. If their struggles at the plate continue, Williams may be compelled to make a move.
Last week White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said that if the team got back in contention, and the right deal came around, hed allow Williams to add salary. But despite the Sox hot streak, that didnt stop opposing general managers from calling Williams a few days ago to see if he was still considering selling.
I got a few phone calls as a matter of fact saying, You still thinking about doing something? I said, Ahhh, were going to sit tight for a minute, run this out and see what happens.
Despite rumors of imminent deals during the Sox struggles, Williams declares that he never got close to making any trades.
Simply because it takes two to tango, the Sox GM said. And you have a number of teams deciding if theyre in it or not in it. You can only begin the process. But the realities started slapping us in the face with the way we were playing. So I fully admit to you and the public that selling started being a consideration.
After sweeping the Braves in three games last week, veteran slugger Chipper Jones said the White Sox are the best team weve played all month. Meaningful words when you consider the Braves had faced the Twins, Rays, Phillies and Dodgers.
What does Williams think about Jones statement?
I wish hed communicate that to the Twins and Tigers so they could start believing that. But I suspect that they dont believe that, so I think were going to have to go out and prove it. And lets face it, we havent played as consistently as the other clubs, so we have to prove it to a greater degree.
So while every Chicago sports fan focuses this week on the Bulls and their quest for the greatest offseason 1-2 punch in the history of Chicago sports (Lebron James and Chris Bosh), rest assured that Williams will be deep inside his bunker, likely not coming out much until he has something to announce.
What will it be? Who and when?
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.