Ken Williams considers youth movement
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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Williams said deals are in place to go young if he wants to blow up a team that was expected to challenge for an American League pennant but has been unable to sustain any type of extended winning streak. The Sox started Monday in third place in the Central Division.
The Sox opened a 10-game homestand Monday with a 6-3 win against the division-leading Detroit Tigers, followed by a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox. The non-waiver trading deadline is July 31.
Williams said a recent report that negotiations have accelerated with the White Sox potentially sending pitchers Edwin Jackson or Matt Thornton to the Cardinals for outfielder Colby Rasmus was incorrect.
A major league source said Monday that the Yankees have interest in Thornton if Williams starts making moves.
"I don't want anyone to feel as though anything imminent is coming," he said. "I want the focus to be on these next number of games so we can put ourselves in position to maybe add rather than to subtract.
"I would much rather continue to fight the fight, but we need a little more consistency."
"On one hand, you can look toward potentially adding (players)," Williams said. "We'd have to add creatively because of the financial situation right now.
"And on the other hand, maybe this is the most opportune time to turn over the entire roster and get some young, exciting players in here and go that route."
Williams said he and manager Ozzie Guillen had a discussion before batting practice unlike any they have had before because of the uncertainty as to whether their team will live up to expectations.
"We don't really know where we stand," Williams said. "To a large degree over the next six days we'll find out.
"It won't be me deciding or Ozzie deciding or any of the coaches, or (chairman Jerry Reinsdorf), it will be what (the players) do. They'll tell us."
If the Tigers are able to dominate the White Sox in the current series, that could be enough to convince Williams to deal veterans with pricey or expiring contracts for young players. With that at stake, it could potentially cause distraction.
"It just depends on the person. If he's really into keeping up with that stuff then, yeah, it might be a little bit of a distraction," said Gordon Beckham, who was considered untouchable at last season's deadline, but has no such guarantees this time.
"But I don't think there are any guys in here that are too worried about that. Whether it happens or not, we can't control it, so we've just got to keep playing and showing up. I don't see it as a distraction at all."
Guillen has said the White Sox have enough talent to advance to the postseason, but the team hasn't been able to put it together.
"I think in July and the middle of this month trade rumors are always going to be there and hopefully this ballclub starts playing the way we think we can play and we forget about trade rumors," Guillen said before Monday's game.
Williams said that GMs are eager to acquire some of Chicago's players.
"General managers out there, they are sharks in the water," Williams said. "There's a lot of them that are pulling for Detroit this week. I know that for a fact. They won't say that to my face, but I know they're saying it behind our back."