Kenny Williams eyes White Sox moves
CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams confirmed Saturday that the club is open to trading some of its major league talent but potential moves won't be done to replenish the farm system.
Instead, Williams said that if deals go down this winter, the youngest the White Sox are willing to go is to obtain talent that is about to burst upon the scene.
"If we are going to move some of our talented players it will be for major league ready talent so they can grow with this nice nucleus we have in (Dayan) Viciedo and (Tyler) Flowers and (Alejandro) De Aza who came in and played hard," Williams said on ESPN 1000's "Talking Baseball" show. "We have to get (Gordon) Beckham back (playing to his potential) and (Brent) Morel. We have a nice young movement going on here."
Williams did say, though, that the White Sox won't be actively shopping their players, although they will be open to listening to offers from other clubs. Outfielder Carlos Quentin could have been moved at the non-waiver deadline in July, but Williams chose to not make a deal. The Philadelphia Phillies were said to be intent on making a deal for Quentin.
Quentin is the most likely candidate to be traded this offseason since Viciedo is ready to assume his spot in right field. Quentin, an All-Star for the second time in 2011, is only one on a list of experienced players that could garner interest from other clubs. John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Matt Thornton have also been named as potential trade candidates.
"They would have to be (moved for) major league ready and potential impact players," Williams said. "Will that happen? I don't know. That's why you go to the winter meetings and see that they offer you, but shopping our guys is not something we will be doing."
Two seasons ago, Beckham was deemed an untouchable by the White Sox when it came to the trade market and he's wasn't going to be moved for any price. His offensive issues that first surfaced in the first half of 2010 and then reemerged the entire 2011 season likely means the White Sox couldn't get decent value for him even if they wanted to make a deal now.
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"Quite frankly I'm not expecting people to blow our doors down for some of our guys who had down years; their value is going to be down a little bit," Williams said. "What we have to do is weigh what they are offering up against what our chances are for the next season."
One of the reasons the White Sox underachieved this past season was the struggles of Adam Dunn. He batted just .159 and struck out a whopping 177 times. It was just the second time in history an every-day player (non pitcher) had a strikeout total that was higher than his batting average. (Mark) Reynolds batted .198 with 211 strikeouts in 2010.)
Williams was asked what he expects from Dunn next season in the second year of his $56 million, four-year deal.
"I've got a great idea or two and that is going to be for Adam and I to discuss privately and I haven't gotten to that yet," Williams said. "He needed a break. ... I've talked to other general managers and psychologists and a lot of different people and nobody has an answer for it. This guy is one of the most prolific power hitters in the game for almost the last decade."
Williams has taken plenty of heat for the Dunn signing last winter so in that sense, he can sympathize with new Cubs president Theo Epstein, who was blasted for his roster decisions in Boston when the Red Sox collapsed in September and failed to make the playoffs.
Williams said he reached out to Epstein at the end of the season.
"I try to send my support to other general managers in the league to tell them I see what happened, you're not alone in this and (your team) is lucky to have you," Williams said. "That is the message I sent, that I hear the criticism. This is not an easy job to do. We've had a great relationship over the years. He's creative, he's aggressive and he's always looking for an angle to make his team better."
How sorry Williams will continue to feel for Epstein in the future remains to be seen. The cross-town Cubs will once again have a much higher payroll than the White Sox, which will require Williams to be creative himself when it comes to improving his roster.
"Believe me, as long as I am sitting in the chair we will continue to be as aggressive as we can possibly be," Williams said. "If it turns out that we can't reasonably expect the talent we have to compete for a championship them I might have dial it back and move today's talent for tomorrow's talent that will extend a run longer for us in the future.
"But none of that has been determined and won't be determined until we get a gauge on what other teams feel about our players."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.