White Sox GM: Market not to our benefit
Williams cautious about 'disrupting' ballclub
SEATTLE -- Take the White Sox currently limited needs: They are in search of a left-handed run producer, quality starting pitcher and/or potentially another left-handed reliever.
Factor in the large bounty of talent teams want in return from the White Sox to fill any of these voids. Then, add how much general manager Ken Williams likes the fight in the group he has.
What all of these pieces of information basically add up to is the White Sox roster likely looking the same on Aug. 1, after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, as it does now.
"If I'm being honest and completely transparent right now of the price that is being asked for some of the players that we've inquired about, for us, it's more detrimental to our present and our future than we'd like," said Williams, speaking in the White Sox dugout prior to Monday's contest at Safeco Field. "We'll see how that develops. But right now, I don't see anything materializing."
Williams certainly never has been afraid to trade a top prospect for a more established player who can immediately help the championship cause. He's proven that fact to be true time and time again during his decade-long tenure at the helm on Chicago's South Side.
But don't look for Williams to dismantle his Minor League system or make any sort of significant subtraction from the current Major League roster. As Williams said Monday, the White Sox are looking to add on, not take away.
They are looking to add on, though, in a way making sense to the 2010 season and beyond.
"Real quickly, what it is is a limited market for us. What we view as potential help is, really, there's only a small group of players," Williams said. "And even with that, we all still have to have the conversation amongst ourselves and we kind of do it on a daily basis this time of year, amongst ourselves what we're looking at the right fit.
"The right fit, both skill set-wise, fit in the lineup or fit, whether it be a bullpen piece, a starter piece. Is it the right fit? Are you going to gain exponentially by making that move in lieu of staying with what you have? And I'm very mindful of how this team has banded together and overcome a mountain of hurdles to get to where they want to get right now.
"So, I think you have to be very cognizant of doing something that isn't, like I said, exponentially better and making sure it's not disruptive at the same time," Williams said.
Potential White Sox targets churned through the rumor mill over the past few weeks included Washington outfielder/first baseman Adam Dunn, Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder and starting pitchers Roy Oswalt (Astros) and Dan Haren (D-backs), who came into focus when Jake Peavy suffered a season-ending injury. Williams cautioned a few weeks back how not all names linked to the White Sox actually were being pursued.
It's this group of players taking to Safeco Field for a three-game set with the Mariners which put together a 26-5 run to go from also-rans to AL Central frontrunners. It's this group which never lost faith, even when the White Sox fell nearly double-digits out of first place.
This core group looks as if it will have the chance to sink or swim this year, although Williams pointed out further activity could happen after the non-waiver deadline. The White Sox added Alex Rios through a waiver claim last August.
With the aggressive manner in which Williams and his staff operate, that trade plan could change Wednesday or Thursday. But it's as much about the fit as it is about the talent, and everything seems to fit pretty well right now for the White Sox.
"If you're going to, again, make such a move, you'd better make sure that player is going to come here, and when the guy walks through the door, have the feeling that, 'OK, this is going to add to in a major way or tweak in a minor way,' such as we did in 2005 with Geoff Blum to where it is a need that is filled," Williams said. "Otherwise, you're better off standing pat.
"Obviously, we put the roster together thinking it can compete, it could be a winning roster, and I like the fight in them. But how they fought through some of the adversity lately has just been, and you take [Sunday's] game that was another one we should have won in Minnesota as well, you take those and then you go back through all the losses we've had in the past six weeks or so, and they have fought to the very end.
"As a general manager, you can only hope and pray that your coaching staff can get the guys to play at that level of intensity and the players themselves have to have it internally to keep that drive going," Williams said. "As I sit here, I'm very cognizant of all those things and we will go through our drills and have our conversations. But it's a very small group of players that may be potentially available and can help."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.