Chicago White Sox: Ken Williams

GM Hahn still same man in new role

April, 28, 2013
Levine By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn appears to have seamlessly slid into his new role as the top baseball executive in the organization. Although former GM Ken Williams has a title above Hahn’s position, it is clear the Winnetka, Ill., native is calling most of the shots. The team's early struggles with key injuries that have contributed to a slow start have not changed Hahn’s optimistic demeanor or his accessibility.

Having had ten years in the trenches as the club's assistant GM appears to have made the transition easier for the people he works with."There is always a change when someone new takes over,“ said second-year manager Robin Ventura. “I don’t think anything has changed here philosophy wise. For me, it has been easy because we spent a lot of time together last year. We are dealing with different issues but handling things in similar ways. Rick and Kenny are just different personalities.”

Hahn has a less aggressive style by nature than Williams but is known as a stone-cold hardliner when it comes to making decisions on talent and money issues. The friendly exterior person he projects should not be confused with the single-minded executive who has shown he is not afraid to say no or turn away from a bad deal. Hahn made his bones by saving the franchise millions of dollars in contract layouts. He signed young players like Mark Buehrle to long-term deals in the early stages of their careers. That type of proactive move worked two-fold: It provided security for the player and another revenue stream to add other good players to the White Sox mix.

The only player who has been here longer than Hahn is team captain Paul Konerko. The veteran first baseman looks at Hahn as a top communicator and a shrewd handler of people. “There won’t be any times where Rick would be caught saying 'why didn’t we think of that?‘" Konerko said in explaining Hahn’s penchant for detail. “Rick and Kenny are the type of baseball men who are dialed in 24 hours a day.”

Hahn has had to adjust to people treating him in a different matter rather than the reverse. “I have seen a difference in the office staff at times but not with the baseball scouts and personnel,“ he said. “Everyone means it out of respect, saying things like ‘I know your busy,‘ when in reality I was the one who initiated the conversation.”

The Sox's poor start as a team while losing two starting position players within a week has tested the 39-year-old executive early in his tenure as GM. “I certainly feel more responsible when things get difficult as you weigh various depth options maybe knowing that right piece isn’t there waiting for you,” Hahn said. “It already has been a rough year injury wise, and, for the most part, we have had someone to come up and help. I do feel a greater responsibility when things don’t go how we planned it to go.“

The White Sox GM is still working closely with Williams, who is out looking at high school and college players for the June draft. “He is always there as a resource even if he isn’t here on a daily basis,” Hahn said. “This has been a little bit of a transition for him. So far, I think it has been good for both of us."

Hahn trades Williams' son to Rockies

November, 2, 2012
Levine By Bruce Levine
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn made his first trade since taking over from Ken Williams on Oct. 25. The oddity of the deal had Williams' son, Kenny Williams Jr., going to the Colorado Rockies for their former manager Jim Tracy's son, Mark.

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Williams to work on energizing Sox fans

October, 3, 2012
Levine By Bruce Levine
CLEVELAND -- General manager Kenny Williams has hopes of making the Chicago White Sox fans’ experience even more enticing in the future.

Within the next couple of weeks Williams will likely have a new title as head of baseball operations. With that new title will come some new responsibilities such as building interest in the team and generating new ticket sales.

“I think an energized fan base and an electric atmosphere can propel a team to the next level,” Williams said. “That is important. We have to get creative, and we have already started that process by looking at ourselves.”

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GM Williams won't discuss president report

September, 20, 2012
Levine By Bruce Levine
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams declined to discuss a USA Today report that he will be promoted to vice president of baseball operations and assistant GM Rich Hahn will become general manager at the end of their season.

“I will not discuss any topic that will take away from the season we are having and the focus on our team and our players and coaching staff,” Williams told

Williams is in his 12th season as Sox GM, the fourth-longest tenure in baseball behind the Oakland Athletics’ Billy Beane, the New York Yankees’ Brian Cashman and the Colorado Rockies’ Dan O'Dowd.

Hahn is also in his 12th season as vice president/assistant GM. ranked Hahn as baseball’s top general manager candidate in 2011.

The White Sox have made two trips to the playoffs -- including a World Series victory in 2005 -- under the Williams-Hahn pairing, and could add a third this season. They can extend their AL Central lead over the Detroit Tigers to three games with a victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.

Elusive second title keeps Williams on task

February, 26, 2012
Levine By Bruce Levine
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If you think Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams isn’t looking forward to another twelve years with the team, you may be mistaken. Entering his 13th season, Williams seems more motivated than ever.

“The day I was hired for the job I said I wanted to win at least two World Series titles,” Williams said. “That goal hasn’t been accomplished, so you keep plugging away and work hard to do just that.”

[+] EnlargeKen Williams
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireChicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams watches the full team spring training workout in a golf cart at Camelback Ranch.
Tough times involving both personnel and personal trauma have taken a toll on the hard-driving Willams. His battles with former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen over the last eight years are a part of baseball folklore, and dealing with several family issues, including threats against his son Kyle Williams after the NFL’s NFC Championship game, has become yet another distraction.

But with a new manager, Robin Ventura, in place and a different way of building the ballclub give the 48-year-old California native more reason to stay on the job.

”This is a familiar situation that Robin is walking into because of the continuity of the organization,” Williams said. “We still have to be aware of new ideas to implement into our plans. So with the new group in place, a lot of us are in the listening mode trying to bring fresh ideas to the table and we have done just that with some of the coaches’ ideas.”

Fiscal control of the amateur draft and Latin American signings have Williams and the club looking to rebuild the team that way for the first time in 20 years.

“With the new [collective bargaining agreement], money across the board [to sign young players] will be even for all 30 clubs,” Williams said. “So good scouting and not just outspending other teams will be the key to obtaining the best young talent in the world. As the rules are constituted now, the game has helped point us in that area.”

How long Williams stays on the job is anyone’s guess. Late in the 2011 season he asked team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf if he wanted him to step aside from the job. Instead Reinsdorf gave him a vote of confidence and decided to let Guillen go to the Miami Marlins with one year left on his contract.

“I was not tired of the job but if there was any type of feeling of anything preventing the group from making any kind of move with me, I wanted to eliminate that right away,” Williams said. “I said, ‘If you want me here, great. If not, I am willing to move into another job or out altogether.’”

New challenges are what Williams looks forward to every day, and in addition to being driven to impact his team, he also desires to make a difference for his fellow man.

“I do have an interest in the Chicago public school system and helping the police and firefighters get better recognition and better compensation including better health care packages,” Williams said. “Yes, I do want to do other things, but I am a baseball man all the way. I like the atmosphere and the challenges of the game and the people in it. I look forward to the pursuit of another championship that will never go away.”

If Williams does bring another title to the south side, he has an idea of what he’d like to do next.

“I would love to be involved in an ownership level at some time, but this is not that time,” Williams said.

Kenny Williams offered to step down

September, 27, 2011
Williams By Doug Williams
CHICAGO -- A day after Ozzie Guillen was let out of his managerial contract, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said Tuesday he has tried to give up his general manager chair multiple times.

Williams was not willing to leave like Guillen did after Monday night's game, but he did say he would take another role in the organization if it would help turn around the club's fortunes.

"I offered it because, listen, I'm a big believer in self-analysis and self-assessment," Williams said about his offer to turn over the GM job to somebody else. "I have a perspective that is one of needing, not wanting, needing this organization to be amongst the best in baseball. Another World Championship puts you on the map, in my opinion, as an organization that stands and speaks for something. And that's what I wanted. That's what I still want out of my tenure here."

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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams said Monday that this week could determine whether the Sox "turn over the entire roster" and go young.

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Reinsdorf considered rebuilding in 2011

March, 16, 2011
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said his first instinct in the offseason was to rebuild, but after determining his tradeable pieces wouldn't bring enough back to improve the talent level moving forward, Reinsdorf decided to spend.

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Safe to say the Chicago White Sox won't be pursuing Albert Pujols next offseason after comments made by general manager Ken Williams on Monday.

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Adding payroll tough call for White Sox

January, 22, 2011
Levine By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox made a splash this offseason, adding free agent slugger Adam Dunn and reliever Jesse Crain and bringing back fan favorites Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski.

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White Sox, Ozzie Guillen a perfect match

January, 21, 2011
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
CHICAGO -- Newly 47 years old, Ozzie Guillen, as usual, looks good.

Well-coiffed, well-manicured and well-dressed, Guillen continues his reign as the sharpest tack on the South Side.

If Guillen is the face of the Chicago White Sox, and he is, don’t be mistaken, it’s a good representation.

Guillen also feels good because he just got some new paper. He is relieved, if not totally contented.

Call him Linus, because Guillen got a security blanket Friday as the White Sox kicked off SoxFest, their annual gathering of diehard fans, with an impromptu announcement that they picked up his contract extension for 2012.

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Sox pick up 2012 option on Ozzie

January, 21, 2011
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox picked up the 2012 option on manager Ozzie Guillen, general manager Ken Williams said Friday.

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White Sox now focus on bullpen

December, 8, 2010
Padilla By Doug Padilla
Chris SaleAndrew Weber/US PresswireChris Sale will prepare to start during the offseason, according to Ken Williams.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Paul Konerko signing Wednesday took such a toll on the budget, not to mention general manager Kenny Williams, that the bullpen is going to have to wait.

After non-tendering closer Bobby Jenks and losing main setup man J.J. Putz to free agency this month, relief help is the White Sox's next order of business. But first, there will be a cooling off period.

"We have to go into a holding pattern right now just for a minute and try to be as creative as possible on the trade front," Williams said after the team announced the Konerko deal. "The free agent front is a little expensive for us right now so we have to try another way. That's all right. We've done it before."

Multiple reports connected free agent reliever Kerry Wood to the White Sox on Tuesday, right around the time the Konerko negotiations hit a snag. Now the White Sox will reassess their assets and who they would like to pursue.

One key component to their decision-making process is the presence of left-hander Chris Sale. He showed late in the season that he has the stuff to be a quality reliever, but he also could be needed to start if Jake Peavy isn't fully recovered from surgery to repair a muscle beneath his right shoulder.

"[Sale] will prepare this offseason to start, because we drafted him to start," Williams said. "We want him to stay on his same regimen he's used to, so he comes in the same kind of condition and he's the same guy you guys saw the last time you saw him pitch. And then we will go from there."

Going from there not only means he could slide into the bullpen when Peavy is ready, but he eventually could settle into the closer's role. There is also the possibility of bringing in veteran starting candidates to spring training on minor-league deals. If one of them could earn the No. 5 rotation spot, until Peavy returns, Sale can start the season in the bullpen.

"It's a little bit of bob and weaving, but there will be clarity soon," Williams said. "The fortunate thing is it's two relief spots and really we can close with either Sale or [left-hander Matt] Thornton. We are not looking for a closer. It's just getting to the closer."

Despite having the two lefties in Sale and Thornton, the White Sox are expected to pursue another reliever who can bring it from the left side. Call it the Minnesota Twins factor.

"We'll take a look at a third left-hander, a situational guy, somebody who can get [Twins lefties Justin] Morneau and [Joe] Mauer out," Williams said. "Then another right-hander. It will come together. We just have to make sure it's the right fit, the right pieces. But we are little bit limited right now."

White Sox, Konerko agree on 3-year deal

December, 8, 2010
Levine By Bruce Levine
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Chicago White Sox agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million deal with free agent first baseman Paul Konerko on Wednesday.

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Paul Konerko snag: Who's to blame?

December, 7, 2010
Padilla By Doug Padilla
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– So who should be blamed now that it appears the White Sox-Paul Konerko negotiations are starting to fall apart?

The White Sox did some major work to move money around, with Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski even deferring money to help make a Konerko deal possible. So is this all on the Konerko camp?

On the other hand, the White Sox signed Dunn for an average salary of $14 million a year, and then went to their franchise player, who is equally productive and certainly a more disciplined hitter, and asked him to reportedly take less per year. Is this the White Sox’s doing?

Ultimately could the White Sox’s honesty be to blame? Nobody made general manager Ken Williams say that Konerko’s re-signing wasn’t just a goal, it would be the team’s main focus after Dunn. It excited the fan base. Now the air is rushing out of the balloon.

It feels like all that excitement that came with the Dunn signing has evaporated now. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he won’t even bother naming a captain if Konerko doesn’t return.

Konerko might look like the bad guy for apparently wanting to tap into money the team needs to still rebuild the bullpen. But his side was intent on going to the winter meetings to explore its options and these winter meetings still have another full day remaining on Wednesday.

The White Sox now need to consider Plan B, C and D so they aren’t left out in the cold.

Strictly looking at this as a business deal, it didn’t have to be so public. The White Sox turned the spotlight toward home plate and invited everybody to watch. They just envisioned hitting a home run, not striking out.

All is not lost. If Konerko doesn’t come back the White Sox can still get a decent first baseman and a quality reliever. It just doesn’t carry the same impact that Konerko’s return would have.



Chris Sale
10 2.03 165 142
BAJ. Abreu .312
HRJ. Abreu 33
RBIJ. Abreu 96
RJ. Abreu 70
OPSJ. Abreu .973
ERAC. Sale 2.03
SOC. Sale 165