White Sox General Manager Ken Williams answers fans questions.
In late April, White Sox General Manager Ken Williams answered a number of
questions submitted by whitesox.com registered users. Read
Ken's views on the team, the 2008 season, being a GM and more.
Thank you to everyone who contributed a question, and we look
forward to more Q&As in future White Sox Wires and other
You always seem to acquire solid character guys. Are there
certain things that you look for in every player?
Yes. That's why I have referred to a "Chicago toughness"
combined with high-character guys who provide you with a
solid presence on and off the field.
What inspired you to go after guys like Nick Swisher?
Well, number one, he can play. He provides us with energy,
he provides us with the ability to get on base. He drives
in runs. And he's young. He adds to the core, both for
the present and down the road.
With the way that Danks and Floyd have performed, does
that give you optimism that this staff has the depth to
take the Central Division?
San Jose, CA
That's our goal. That's what we set out to do in the
offseason: put a product on the field that we believe in,
the players can believe in, and ultimately that the fans
can believe in, as well.
I was wondering if you are thinking about making any
trades before the deadline this year.
Oak Lawn, IL
It's a little premature to even get into that. I hope
I don't have to make a personnel move all year. I want
these guys to get it done. That would be wonderful.
I don't remember ever going into a season looking to
replace guys right off the bat. I'm optimistic about
everyone we have on the roster right here.
Are you surprised by the White Sox offense so far this
year? What has your staff done differently this year
to get these guys ready, as opposed to last year?
We're scoring runs, but they haven't gotten it going
just yet. I guess that's the good news - we have now
created something where guys are grinding out their
at-bats. We've added three pieces to the lineup that
know how to work a count, creating more base runners
and more scoring opportunities. I think we've also
got the flexibility, if we want to, to go to a speed
lineup in times when the big boys are struggling.
Once Jerry Owens gets healthy and going, he could add
to that speed lineup that Ozzie will have a choice to
put out there.
Is there any one position that might be prone to
weakness in the event of injury?
Yeah, everything worries me, day-to-day, hour-to-hour,
minute-to-minute. But what you try to do is build a
roster that's talented enough and flexible enough
where if somebody does go down, you're filling in
with someone who has the capabilities to help. We've
had a lot of talented players sitting on the bench,
so much so that it's a little difficult to get them
playing time, and that's a very good problem to have.
In your opinion, what is the best acquisition that
you have made in your tenure as general manager for
the White Sox?
Wow. There have been a lot of deals. I probably
take more pride when we used our scouting methods,
combined with our teaching methods, to get something
out of a player that others did not. Esteban Loaiza,
Jose Contreras. Sticking with guys like Joe Crede,
Jon Garland and Aaron Rowand, when much of the media
and some of our fans wanted them out of here. Those
kinds of the things, the "under the radar" things.
I think Carlos Quentin would be one of those guys.
How do you cope with the intense fan and media
scrutiny of your every move with the team?
Most times, I'm too busy to listen to it. All the
time, I'm too busy to pay attention to it. After
seven years, I've learned that virtually everything
I do is the wrong move. Now, I'm surprised when
people actually agree with me. That's when I
start to really worry.
What influences your final decision on a player
statistics or your gut?
It's a combination. I think at the end of the day,
though, my scouting instincts take over. We've
tended to acquire quite a few guys over the years
who statistically didn't fit the profile, but from
a scouting perspective, an element perspective,
they have performed very strongly.
Will you be growing a blonde goatee this season?
If that's what the boys want for solidarity, then