By Adam Hoge-
CHICAGO (CBS) It’s an idea that has been casually floated around for over a year, and Tuesday Kenny Williams confirmed that he offered to leave the general manager position and take up a different role within the White Sox organization.
“I offered it, yeah,” Williams said before Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays. “I offered it because, hey, listen, I’m a big believer in self-analysis and self-assessment, and I have a perspective that is one of needing, not just wanting, but needing this organization to be amongst the best in baseball. Another World Championship kind of puts you on the map. In my opinion, as an organization, that speaks for something and that’s what I wanted. That’s what I still want out of my tenure here.”
So how did Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf respond to the idea?
“He didn’t like it very much, but I felt compelled to reiterate it again. I was completely prepared to vacate the seat,” Williams said.
The general manager said he first offered up the idea a year ago and revisited it as recently as two weeks ago.
Williams was very honest with his performance in a session with the media that lasted nearly 30 minutes.
“In fact, if (Reinsdorf) came to me and said he wanted to make a change, I would have completely understood that,” the GM said.
With Ozzie Guillen asking for an extension this season and walking out the door after not receiving one, Williams was asked if he ever asked for an extension.
“The bottom-line is we have not achieved over the last number of years,” Williams said. “It’s been now three years since we’ve been to the playoffs, so I don’t feel like I have the leverage, especially with some of the decision I made this past season.”
Those decisions included adding Adam Dunn, who is having one of the worst individual seasons in the history of baseball. With Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy all tying up the White Sox payroll, Williams admitted he is now going to be forced to do something he hasn’t really done since coming to the White Sox in 2000: Look toward the future and not just next season.
“This is a year in which I go into the offseason thinking more so we have to take a step back,” he said. “And the reason why we have to, I believe, is I can’t reasonably project where some of the guys who have fallen off this year, how they’ll come back. And you combine that with a young nucleus that has come along and has shown some promise and you don’t know where they’ll be.
“That may not mean delving into the free agent market or the impact kind of trades we are always looking for to get us over the hump, and that may be a departure a little bit from who and what we’ve been but it may be necessary at this point in time.”
Williams added that he wants to keep what is currently in the minor league system and build on it. But he refused to say the White Sox were rebuilding. He said it’s more like “going into a little bit of holding pattern while we all find out what we have.”
“It’s been 11 years of throwing haymakers and trying to get the most impactful talent out there, and sometimes there’s a price to pay, particularly when that doesn’t translate into success by the players that you’ve acquired,” Williams said. “So you take it on the chin and you keep moving and you might have to modify how you do business for a couple years.”
That doesn’t exactly sound good for pitcher Mark Buehrle who is a free agent this year and will be one of the first players Williams will have to make a decision on. Williams said Buehrle’s situation is similar to Paul Konerko’s a year ago as the White Sox have to work out their payroll projections before they can decide whether or not to make a serious offer. The difference is, the White Sox’s situation is clearly different this year and Williams said himself that he doesn’t envision making a big free agent signing this year. He added that Buehrle will have to test the free agent market before the Sox will even make an offer.
Simply put, Buehrle will have to take a huge hometown discount to stay with the White Sox.