Ken Williams' fruitless winter

Joe Cowley wonders if Ken Williams' offseason errors have left the White Sox in a precarious position. Money quote:

    For the first time, there are valid arguments about what Williams didn't attempt to get done this season.
    They don't have Orlando Hudson, who ended up going to the Los Angeles Dodgers on the cheap. They don't have a legitimate lead-off hitter -- still. And relying on Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, John Danks and Gavin Floyd to match or exceed their breakout years in 2008, while sprinkling in a handful of kids -- well, that's asking a lot.

    If this roster can't pick itself up off the canvas, Williams will be at a crossroads next month -- the same crossroads he came to in '07, when he chose to stay the course with aging veterans rather then blow the roster up.

    Good decision then. Now?

    Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks are the two biggest chips Williams has for trading. By mid-June, it might be time to play them.

All fair points, I think. Even if it's worth mentioning that the White Sox enter play tonight just two games out of first place. But you know, the problem isn't that Quentin, Ramirez, Danks and Floyd have failed to "match or exceed" what they did in 2008. The problem is that Ramirez and Floyd have been been absolute disasters. If those guys had just played 80 percent this year as well as last the White Sox would be just fine right now.
There's no telling if they will. Floyd's got a 5.20 career ERA, and before last season he struggled for two years with the Phillies. Ramirez's entire professional track record consists of his 166 games with the White Sox. He's now got a .307 lifetime on-base percentage. He's 27 (officially). Does he have much (if any) room for growth?

Perhaps not, but he can't continue to play as poorly as he has. Nobody's that bad. The same probably goes for Floyd, and for Josh Fields, and for Chris Getz, and for whoever's got the No. 5 slot in the rotation now that Jose Contreras has been deposed. I look at this team and I see plenty to be optimistic about. No, these White Sox aren't going to win 89 games, as they did last year. But 15-18 in the middle of May is no reason to panic, particularly in a division that might be taken with 85 wins.

I can't argue that Ken Williams had a great winter, because he left his manager without a legitimate center fielder and with a big question mark at second base. But when I look around the American League Central, I see question marks all over the place. Maybe Williams was simply playing down to the competition.