CHICAGO -- While there has been plenty of speculation of late about Chicago White Sox personnel turnover, the club’s own history shows that changes are hard to come by.
So with executive vice president Kenny Williams rumored last week to possibly be headed to Seattle or Toronto, and with the team’s struggles continuing to place manager Robin Ventura on the hot seat, the reality is that both could end up calling U.S. Cellular Field home again in 2016.
In Williams’ case, rumors of his potential departure are nothing new. He was rumored to be headed to Toronto last year, but the club reportedly denied an interview request.
Williams is under contract for 2016 so while last year wasn’t the right time for him to depart as the club rebuilt its roster, nothing has changed as the White Sox entered Monday a disappointing 58-64 this year and in store for more roster fine-tuning this winter.
Williams addressed the speculation surrounding his future before Monday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, including the fact that he is no longer in the general manager’s chair and hasn’t been for three seasons now.
“I won’t deny there are times throughout the year where you sort of (miss the day-to-day action of being a GM), but there are other advantages to the role I play now,” Williams said. “I’m focused on the job at hand and if (chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) ever comes to me, and he hasn’t, and said someone has asked for permission for X, Y or Z job, then I’d deal with that when it comes. Until that point, it’s a moot conversation.”
Ventura also is under contract for the 2016 season so despite the team’s struggles, the team could be willing to give him more time to show that he can guide a winner.
In late June, Williams gave Ventura a vote of confidence, putting the blame for the team’s struggles on the front office more than on the in-game decision-maker. Williams said the 2015 White Sox are one of the most difficult clubs to evaluate because of their up-and-down nature.
“There’s some truth to that to where you look at and there will be periods where we pitch well but we don’t quite hit well, there will be periods where we hit well, don’t quite pitch as well or defense, and that’s the part people look at and it hasn’t been on a sustained run to be able to understand this group,” Ventura said. “The effort and everything else, that part hasn’t wavered or changed.”
The fact is that Reinsdorf agreed to the roster moves made this past winter and he not only isn’t likely to blame Ventura for an imperfect club, he trusts Williams to help make it better for next year, along with general manager Rick Hahn.
From that perspective, Williams and Ventura could be back in their positions next year, even if there is a vocal part of the fan base that would like to see changes made in both areas. And while Seattle or Toronto might be interested in hiring Williams, that doesn’t mean it will happen.
“I didn’t grow up in Chicago but I’ve been here now 30 years and it’s my home,” Williams said. “My wife is here, our family is here. We are very comfortable and we’ve got a fan base that I don’t step foot outside my door where people don’t express appreciative things.
“I work for a prince of a guy and none of that is ever going to be lost. Just because you are flattered with your name being mentioned with possibilities, it doesn’t mean you are going to hightail it out the door.”