Not much more to say other then the White Sox 2011 campaign has been a major disappointment, and some wholesale changes are most likely to occur next season. Unfortunately, the Sox hands are going to be tied on some of the wholesale changes they’d like to make.
Chicago sports radio and Chicago sports fans spend a lot of their time talking about the bad contracts and trades that Jim Henry has made in his tenure as the Cubs’ GM, but Kenny Williams isn’t exactly batting a thousand either.
Getting Rios of waivers seemed brilliant last season and looks like a complete disaster this season, just like Hendry’s moves looked brilliant when the Cubs’ were six outs away from going to the World Series. Williams not wasting time and getting Adam Dunn seemed one of his best off-season acquisitions since he signed Jim Thome, oh well, maybe next year will be better with “Big Donkey” as his season has been a complete disaster. The Sox are already doing damage control in the press for next season.
The Chicago Tribune published an interview with Greg Walker focusing on Rios changing his batting stance in the off-season, apparently he’s not mentally strong enough do this now? Screw next season, you were 3-1/2 games back less then a week ago, make an adjustment now. Paul Konerko makes adjustments from bat to bat if necessary, man-up!
I’m all for giving Adam Dunn a reprise on this season, but next year the pressure will be greater if can not find his groove before the season ends. As for Rios, well we’re stuck with him since he’s owed $41 million over the next two seasons. Ouch! While Williams did not structure that contract, he claimed it off of waivers. Not a smart move.
Jake Peavy also brings a hefty contract, but based on his performance on Monday night against the Yankees, I think Jake Peavy is going to pay big dividends next season. Fans act like Peavy tore his latissimus dorsi muscle on purpose and expect him to suddenly be great again after having experimental surgery. I think he will be great again, and think Williams will come out fine on that move. Clayton Richard has come back down to earth and has suffered a few of his own setbacks for the Padres.
Since these big contracts and the lack of attendance due to a poor performance by the team will prevent them from re-signing Carlos Quentin, Mark Buehrle and/or John Danks they should move someone now.
I hate to give up CQ, but the reality is he has value to a team actually in it, and would only be able to stay with the team if he gave the Sox a hometown discount. In regards to Buehrle and Danks, I would try to move Danks. The reason is the Sox offered Danks a contract two years ago and he scoffed at it, so it’s obvious he’s looking for a payday. Buehrle may be willing to stay for the same money he’s making now, which the Sox should be able to manage.
Besides all of that, the Sox will be probably be replacing their manager next season as Guillen is most likely getting a big payday from the Florida Marlins. This comes as no surprise, but the ability of Williams to prepare for the future while attempting to compete for a division is what is impressive.
The whole reason that Colby Rasmus is not on the Sox or the Cardinals any longer is because of Tony LaRussa. The Cardinals are going for it this year while they have Albert Pujols on their roster and Rasmus and LaRussa did not see eye to eye. While the Sox needed a righty in the bullpen to replace Tony Pena, they would have gladly acquired Rasmus to replace the vacancy in right next season that will most likely occur due to Quentin leaving.
The entire reason the rumored trade ended up going through Toronto was because the Sox already have their replacement manager in LaRussa. Of all the mishaps that have happened this season this is one of the smartest moves Williams has done. Both Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf have regular contact with LaRussa, and they usually have dinner when he’s in town with the Cardinals.
Kenny Williams is always one-step ahead and while it doesn’t always work out you have to respect his aggressive nature and passion for the White Sox.
The Sox may look something like this next season:
Manager – Tony LaRussa
1 – LF – Alejandro De Aza
2 – SS – Alexei Ramirez
3 – DH – Adam Dunn
4 – 1B – Paul Konerko
5 – CF – Alex Rios (This might be generous at this point)
6 – RF – Dayan Viciedo
7 – C – AJ Pierzynski
8 – 2B – Gordon Beckham
9 – 3B – Brent Morel
1 – Mark Buehrle
2 – Jake Peavy
3 – Gavin Floyd
4 – Phil Humber
5 – ?????????????