GM Kenny Williams on White Sox Stretch Run Needs

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With All-Star set-up man Matt Thornton and part-time closer/key reliever J.J. Putz now headed to the 15 day DL, the Chicago White Sox clearly have some deficiencies in the bullpen. And even before the injuries occurred, the bullpen had been the team’s Achilles heel the past couple weeks.

Sox GM Kenny Williams addressed the media on Tuesday, and mostly fielded questions about the Manny Ramirez rumors, but he also had a lot to say about what the team needs to fix internally; before filling gaps with additional players.

“I think more than anything what we’ve needed the last couple of weeks is just consistency out of our bullpen,” Williams said.

“They’ve fought to get ahead, they’ve fought to climb back in games and then take the lead only to lose it, I think more than anything that’s been the problem,” he continued.

By Paul M. Banks

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Complete Guide to Chicago White Sox Trade Deadline Rumors

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As the July 31st Major League Trade Deadline approaches, The Chicago White Sox could be actively working the phone lines in search of both pitching and hitting assistance.  In the second episode of MLB network’s “The Club” which aired yesterday, GM Kenny Williams indicated he’s used to being a buyer, not a seller.

While this interview was conducted in May when it looked like the Sox would trade both Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, it could very well be the mindset of the 1st place Sox GM this week.  Who is realistically available for the Sox to acquire, without costing them their future?  With no margin for error and a one game lead over the Minnesota Twins, is inaction an option?  Let’s break it all down.

By: Soxman

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(Former) White Sox Show Dedication to Pitching, Speed, and Defense

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As the Chicago White Sox look at their 2010 blueprint and question “what happened, fans chants of “Fire Ozzie” or “Wave the White Flag” grow another decibel as the losses pile one, but I challenge the following:

Soxman asks who is truly to blame? [Read more…]

White Sox Pushing Self Destruct Button for GM Kenny Williams

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By Soxman

White Sox fans may not always agree with the moves GM Kenny Williams makes, but they know he is a man of his word.  Ask his index finger, it once proudly displayed the 2005 World Championship ring to Cubs fans, and often becomes itchy around the trading deadline. Now it seems to be hovering over the 2010 season self-destruct button. We can’t say he didn’t warn us.

Realistically, Williams indicated that the White Sox had until June to “right the ship” and after losing the past weekend series to the Kansas City Royals, it appears this team is pushing the self destruct button for him. [Read more…]

Fixing the White Sox, part 1: The outfield

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By Soxman

Easy Shoeless Joe Jackson fans, you see the title of this column and possibly fret. But don’t worry, Buck Weaver has no reason to turn over in his grave. We are not using the word “fix” as a reference to 1919, unless we are predicting Gordon Beckham’s chances of going 19/19 next year.

So before Josie goes on a vacation far away for the winter, we are turning our collective heads to look at next season. The most optimistic of fans called an official time of death on the flat-lining 2009 season when the Oakland A’s thrashed us September 8th. Even Darin Jackson and Ed Farmer’s in-game discussion turned from post-season to potential in terms of Ozzie Guillen using September to audition players for 2010.

Over the next few weeks, we will be offering our perspectives on “fixing the White Sox” for 2010. We will take stock of the players who will stay (“put em on the board”) or those who need to move on (“He gone”), and look at possible trades, free agents and minor leaguers that could improve the team. In our final edition, we’ll look at line-ups and rotations based on our newly found perspectives.

Let’s play ball! Outfield

Scott PodsednikScott Podsednik (LF, CF)

Put Em on the Board.

Kenny Williams hinted last week that he might not fill the DH spot next season with a traditional slugger. If that’s true, he could re-sign Pods and not promise him a starting gig, but instead rotating him in the outfield and DH where he could easily amass 350 or so ABs. But at age 34 can he repeat the .304, 5 HR, 26 SB, .355 OBP, season he has put together thus far? As he was unemployed before the Sox called this year, there likely isn’t a waiting list for his services.

Mark Kotsay

He Gone.

While Kotsay is well-liked by manager Ozzie Guillen and versatile in his ability to play all outfield positions and first base, he’ll be 35 next season and is in the twilight of his career. At best, he gets invited back to compete for the 5th OF position, which could likely be occupied with a much cheaper alternative. The Sox will look for bargains at back-up positions in order to address emerging needs as a team.

Dewayne Wise

He Gone.

We’ll always love you for the catch that saved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, but a .207 batting average won’t cut it. You can hate Scotty Pods for taking your job.

Jermaine Dye

He Gone.

It kills me to say it as “JD” is one of my favorites. His bat vanished after the All-Star Break and his defense, while acceptable, has slowed considerably from what it was in 2005. How bad is his offensive decline? He’s batting .151 with one HR and 1 RBI over his last 53 ABs.

Carlos QuentinCarlos Quentin

Put Em on the Board

It what has been another lost season for Quentin, he’s still under the Sox control and is only 28 years old. His 16 HRs in just 289 ABs indicate the power stroke is still there. With 500 ABs and perhaps a little rest in a “fluid” DH spot, Quentin could revisit the 30 HR club.

Alex Rios

Put Em on the Board

I wrote an article indicating while the Alex Rios move was a good one, only Alex Rios Himself can prove me wrong. Starting fresh in 2010, without the pressure of taking fan favorites’ jobs, Rios will be given every opportunity to succeed. The negative indicators? His on-base percentage has dropped at least 20 points every year since 2007 and his slugging percentage has dropped at least 30 points! The Sox are stuck with his contract regardless.

NEXT WEEK: Catchers and Infielders

White Sox Get Jake Peavy

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By Soxman

What do you get when you combine Jake Peavy and Alexei Ramirez?  Answer: two of four healthy ankles.

Just minutes after the 4:00 p.m. Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline passed, the MLB network announced that Jake Peavy was headed to the Chicago White Sox…again, and this time its for real.

With the move, Kenny Williams once again proved the following:

1.    He always gets his man.
2.    He is not afraid to do whatever it takes to win now…and later.

For the most part, this trade involves the same names as version 1.0 did earlier in the season.

The difference?  Peavy is currently on the disabled list with a strained tendon in his ankle and won’t return until mid-August at the earliest.  Not more than two weeks ago, Padres’ GM Kevin Towers noted that Jake Peavy could be done for the remainder of the season, saying, “I think it’s 50-50 if Jake will pitch again this year.”

However, Kenny Williams told the MLB network minutes ago that he believes Peavy will begin a rehab assignment towards the middle of August and could return towards the end of the month possibly on-time for the Red Sox series.

The Padres did pretty well in this deal as they will receive Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, Dexter Carter and Aaron Poreda in return.  soxman1

Richard should immediately move into the Padre’s rotation.  While he is 4-3 with a 4.67 ERA, and a 1.47 WHIP on the season, he had a 1.12 ERA over his last two starts, helping the Sox get a crucial win over the Tigers on Sunday.

The key prospect in the trade for the Padres is likely southpaw Aaron Poreda.  In a limited bullpen stint with the White Sox, the 2007 first-round draft pick had a 2.45 ERA in ten IP.

For the White Sox, the move could be to win now, providing Peavy could return towards the end of August.  It could also be to solidify the Sox rotation for years to come. Peavy is under contract for at least three more years, with a club option for 2012.   In the economics of pitching, it could also be a long term bargain.  He’s due $15 million next year, $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012 with a $4 million buyout on a $22 million club option.

Mark Buehrle is signed through 2011,and John Danks and Gavin Floyd are under the Sox control for at least three more seasons.

Even if he doesn’t throw another pitch in 2009, the White Sox get a proven 28-year old ace and Cy Young award winner (2007), who has a career ERA of 3.29. His ERA is likely to suffer somewhat moving to U.S. Cellular Field, but he should still pitch like a front of the rotation ace.

So why did Jake Peavy have a change of heart after turning down a trade in May?

“There’s no assurance that one of his (Peavy’s) prime target teams was going to take a shot at him in the offseason,” Barry Axelrod, Peavy’s agent said in an interview with Padres insider Tim Krasovic.

Peavy’s preferred teams were the Cubs and Dodgers.

In late May, he decided against accepting a trade to the White Sox.

Citing other factors, Axelrod told Krasovic that the White Sox (52-51 and 2.5 games behind the Tigers) are in better playoff contention than when Peavy nixed the deal in late May.

Should anyone be surprised?

Williams was somewhat forced to respond after the Detroit Tigers acquired Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners, and the Minnesota Twins solved their middle infield situation acquiring shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

He has admitted to coveting Peavy since July of last year, and has a proven track record of never giving up on his targets.  After almost acquiring Ken Griffey Jr. at the 2005 trade deadline, Williams finally got him in 2008.

In 2005 he almost traded Joe Crede to the Angels for Darin Erstad.  He later signed him as a free-agent before the start of the 2007 season.

While it somewhat edges away from Williams vow to develop his farm system, it is a good trade for both teams.

Providing the White Sox can stay in contention until Peavy returns healthy, he could easily add 2-3 wins down the stretch.  Did you hear that offense?  Now wake up…AGAIN.