White Sox

Sox Drawer: Williams Made Play for Halladay

117703.jpg

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.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

astrosasg.png
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

With the White Sox in the middle of a rebuild, Chuck Garfien spoke with 3 Houston Astros All-Stars who explained how they went from a rebuilding team to World Series champions. Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman talk about how they dealt with losing, how they learned how to win, the importance of adding veterans to the young core, and how they kept hope alive during the rebuild.  Then later, Chuck spoke with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain trying to understand how he dominated the White Sox for so many years.

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

0717-jose-abreu.jpg
USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”