07/21/08 9:50 PM ET
GM Williams not sure about additions
He says he must be sure not to make a key subtraction
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Maybe he'll go somewhere tropical. Then again, maybe he'll travel by car to south suburban Bourbonnais to take in the start of Chicago Bears' training camp.
At least, that was the tongue-in-cheek response the general manager presented to the media during a 10-minute discussion Monday afternoon focused on possible additions for the White Sox.
"We're always looking for impact players, players that can win a championship, and nothing's changed in that regard," said Williams, following up his early humor with a serious response on the open trade market. "I learned some hard lessons in the past, and those lessons are just throwing additional talent, as much talent, against the wall as you could possibly throw, doesn't always work because it doesn't always fit.
"What we've done in the past few years is not only look for talent but for fits, team-oriented guys that fit that grinder mentality and have a lot of toughness, but a little bit of light-heartedness to survive in what it is a very difficult environment to succeed. You have to be cognizant that the most obvious thing to do may not be the most obvious in terms of actually helping your team.
"You could be hurting your team by tinkering with something that's not worth tinkering with."
These questions arose Monday primarily because of Jose Contreras' recent trip to the disabled list with right elbow tendinitis, causing concern for the White Sox to find a veteran replacement. In the interim, Minor League callup Clayton Richard will take Contreras' spot in the rotation.
Williams views Contreras' medical malady as more along the lines of tennis elbow than anything more serious. And in the White Sox GM's estimation, there's nothing available better than a healthy Contreras can provide the team.
"Even if it were more serious, you still have a very difficult time coming up with impact starters that you could bring into this situation or any situation," Williams said. "Those couple guys have already been traded, and even those guys, or at least one of them, comes with a little bit of risk attached with him, and I don't know if we can afford that."
Of course, making impact moves has been Williams' forte since taking over the team after the 2000 season. But with much of the heavy lifting done during the offseason, Williams feels comfortable with the talent he has in place. That comfort level assumes White Sox players perform up to their potential and stay healthy.
So, Williams will continue approaching other teams with ideas, being cognizant not to take away an important piece while adding a piece perceived as more valuable that could disrupt the flow. Ultimately, the White Sox might just enter August with the same basic group they had in July, giving Williams a chance to take that rest he joked about.
"[Manager Ozzie Guillen] said he doesn't need any help, so I'm going on vacation," said Williams with a laugh. "You guys don't have to search the rumor mills or anything else. I think it's about time."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.