CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Ken Williams spoke to the media for about 10 minutes near the U.S. Cellular Field backstop on Friday evening. He provided a handful of blog-worthy tidbits. Among the highlights:
--Because they own the seventh-best record in baseball at 57-47, the Sox aren’t high in the waiver-wire claiming order. Williams joked it’s a good thing.
“It helps me from doing something stupid,” he said. [p>
But in all seriousness, Williams called the waiver wire a tricky game. And while the Sox are set as far as every day position players go, Williams will do his due diligence and monitor the wire.
“I think it’s a mistake to sit in this chair and feel like there’s not one more move to make,” he said.
And if there isn’t a move to make - Williams added that an impact player might not even be an everyday player - the Sox are ready to forge forward with its current roster.
“We have what we have right here and we’ll fight together with these guys,” Williams said.
--Williams said opposing teams were well aware of the Sox’s stance at the trade deadline.
“I let it be known pretty early in the process that I wasn’t going to mess with the chemistry we have on the field and off the field, tweak things, you know,” he said. “You don’t get into overhauling something that’s working.”
--Count Williams among the GMs who would like to have the trade deadline pushed up to, say, June 30. Williams’ thinking: the earlier the trade deadline, the sooner he could take a “snapshot” of his team and still have time to address any pressing needs before it’s too late. It’s a reason Williams went after third baseman Kevin Youkilis early on, acquiring him from the Red Sox on June 24.
“I have always (thought) that, but not just solely for that reason,” Williams said. “For the reason that I think a guy can help, let’s try to win as many games as possible and let’s get ahead of the curve and pick up some games now rather than wait until after July. Those games may make the difference.”
-While it was rumored that the Sox were in the running for Milwaukee pitcher Zack Greinke, who ended up with the Angels, Williams was able to acquire Francisco Liriano from Minnesota. And Williams thinks highly of Liriano. Here’s his explanation for what made Liriano an attractive acquisition:
“There were other guys on the market,” Williams said. “But for us it’s not just about winning the division. It’s about winning the division and if you get into postseason play, having the weapons to actually win. While there might be some other guys out there who were available, I just felt that Liriano’s one that all he really has to do is be in the strike zone on a more consistent basis. Coop and I have been through this drill before. There were some very immediate and obvious things that we felt could get him in that zone a little bit more and that’s all it takes, and I think he can be an impact guy. More importantly, he already has with the exception of three starts over his last 13, 14. Now I think he’s been pretty darn good. Now you put him into a situation where he’s in a roll and we’re in the playoffs, he can shut somebody down and he can shut anybody down if he’s right. So that’s what we’re after. We’re after the big prize and not just to get in to say, ‘ooh, we’ve been to the playoffs.’ That’s never been our goal, never been our goal.”
--And finally, in this digital day and age of constant speculation and 140-character declarations, there wasn’t much that surprised Williams at the trade deadline, except for one thing the North Siders did.
“Well, things are talked about so much these days that I don’t know if anything surprises you because all you guys have it on Twitter before it gets consummated, so it gets talked about and debated,” Williams said. “It’s run through the ringer before it actually gets announced. I guess (Ryan) Dempster probably surprised me going to the American League instead of staying in the National League. That surprised me.”