White Sox

Sox Drawer: Williams Made Play for Halladay

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Sox Drawer: Williams Made Play for Halladay

Monday, Feb. 22, 2010
5:09 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

The White Sox already have a starting rotation considered by many to be one of the best in the majors.

Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Freddy Garcia. Not too shabby.

But in an interview with Kenny Williams on Monday here in Glendale, the Sox general manager revealed to CSN that he came close to making the staff even better. Much, much better.

Who is this mystery person?

Although he wouldnt come out and actually say it, you can bet that his first name is Roy, his last name is Halladay, and the Sox would have had a starting rotation for the ages.

Williams admitted that the Sox were close to acquiring a big-time player this off-season (a player other than Johnny Damon). Pressed about who it was, Kenny first said, I dont think I should go down that road.

Was it a pitcher?

Williams paused. Paused again. And then made the most profound statement of 2010:

It may have given us a chance to have the best rotation maybe in the history of the game.

The history of the game?

Kenny back-tracked a bit saying, The best 5-man rotation, but he was clearly doing his best to go down the road I was trying to take him without having to say the name Roy Halladay.

Its a guy. Just a guy, Williams answered with a grin that traveled from Glendale to Tucson.

When the Blue Jays put their ace on the trading block this winter, the Sox tried to put a package together to lure Halladay to Chicago. But after shelling out roughly 100 million for Jake Peavy and Alex Rios the previous summer, finding enough money to pay for Halladay was likely the biggest stumbling block.

That wasnt a problem for the Philadelphia Phillies, who acquired Halladay from Toronto in a 3-team trade and proceeded to sign the All-Star pitcher to a 3-year, 60-million extension in December.

Other highlights from our interview:

When I brought up the expiring contracts for A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko, two White Sox icons as I called them, Kenny interrupted, saying, Youre calling A.J. an icon? Im going to give Konerko the icon line. With A.J. I cant.

He was joking.

So why dont you give him a contract extension?

Number one, thats none of your business when and how we sign guys, Williams said.

He wasnt joking.

What makes you think we havent talked about it?

Okay, Ill ask. Have you talked?

Thats none of your business, Williams said with a smile. When we have something to announce well announce it. Im going to ask him, ask what his expectations are, and match them up with what I see our future roster looking like, budget issues looking like, minor league guys coming up, a guy right behind him in Tyler Flowers coming up, and how that would work in the overall grand scheme of things, because were always trying to win.

Williams continued, The good thing about all of this is that weve positioned ourselves to where there are younger players that are knocking on the door, just like (Konerko and Pierzynski) were younger players knocking on the door. With that weve got options now.

But the Sox general manager is prepared to have those good-bye conversations to both Pierzynski and Konerko. Its just a matter of when.

Theres going to come a time whether its this year, or the next year where Ive got to tell an A.J. or a Konerko (goodbye) if Im here, so its going to be hard either way.

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.

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

MLB Power Rankings: It's Eloy's world and we're all just living in it

Eloy Jimenez is wasting no time endearing himself to the South Side. His game-winning, broken bat homer against the team that traded him away, in his first time back, is the stuff of legend. The Quintana-Eloy trade still probably has 10-15 years of barguments ahead of it, but it's quickly becoming one of the more fascinating storylines in recent memory. 

There's apparently baseball going on outside of Chicago, though, and as it turns out, the teams that were still really good last week are still really good this week. The Astros and Yankees are actually probably getting better. The Orioles are not. 

To the rankings! 

YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE MLB POWER RANKINGS RIGHT HERE

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Seven walks last year, now Lucas Giolito goes back to Wrigley as one of baseball's best

Looking for another example of how far Lucas Giolito has come this season? Look back to last year’s Crosstown series.

Giolito pitched in games on both sides of town, but the start he made against the Cubs at Wrigley Field was emblematic of his woeful 2018 season. He actually earned the win in that game, but he walked seven batters and threw three wild pitches. By the time he exited, his season ERA was nearly 7.00.

White Sox fans know that 2019 has been the complete opposite for Giolito, and he rides into his Wednesday-night start on the North Side as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Just like Eloy Jimenez’s game-winning home run Tuesday was the best snapshot of the White Sox rebuilding progress to date, putting last year’s start at Wrigley next to where Giolito is heading into this year’s start at Wrigley is the best snapshot of his amazing transformation.

“It was survival mode,” Giolito said Tuesday. “Now I feel like I’m on the attack. When I take the ball, I have full confidence in myself that I will come after you with really good stuff, changes in velocity and movement. Last year I went out not knowing what I had that day.

“I don’t want to walk seven, like I did last year here. I got the win somehow. The offense and defense bailed me out a ton. This year I’m much different. I’m all about filling up the zone, attacking hitters. That’s pretty much the M.O.”

The difference has been obvious to anyone who watched Giolito struggle last season to the tune of a 6.13 ERA (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), a 1.48 WHIP (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), 118 earned runs (the most in baseball) and 90 walks (the most in the American League). This season, he’s been dominant, on an incredible run that’s made him as good a Cy Young candidate as you’ll find. He’s got a 2.22 ERA right now, best in the AL, with 95 strikeouts in 81 innings.

Over his last eight starts, Giolito has a 0.94 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. Opposing hitters are batting just .149 against him during that span.

The dude’s on fire, a near lock to be an All Star, and perhaps most importantly, he’s totally changed his long-term perception in the minds of White Sox fans. They groaned during the walks and the runs and the wild pitches last year and cast him out of their projected future rotations. Now they’re cheering a guy who looks capable of leading that rotation of the future.

What a difference a year makes.

If those White Sox fans are anything in number and volume like they were Tuesday night, when they made Wrigley Field sound like Guaranteed Rate Field after Jimenez’s homer in the ninth, then Giolito can expect a rocking atmosphere as he looks to keep the good times rolling — and make a Crosstown moment worth remembering this time.

“I want to give the fans a show as much as I can,” Giolito said. “I like to see we’re filling up our ballpark with more White Sox fans, more people starting to pay attention. Just want to continue on that train. Our team is playing really hard and we’re happy to be here.

“My goal every time I pitch is to win, so not too much changes. But it's going to be a lot of fun, I'll say that. I'm looking forward to it.”

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