Chicago White Sox: Nate Jones a Pleasant Surprise Despite a Smug Kenny Williams

Jon FromiSenior Analyst IApril 1, 2012

Nate Jones was on few radars going into Spring Training. To hear Kenny Williams tell it, he saw it coming all the way.
Nate Jones was on few radars going into Spring Training. To hear Kenny Williams tell it, he saw it coming all the way.Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox released their 25-man roster Saturday with a few surprises.

To hear GM Kenny Williams talk about rookie Nate Jones, one would think that the tall relief pitcher was a sure thing to make the club.

Jones is a 26-year old Kentucky boy who can't get the smile off his face after making the team. His surprise ascension provides warm feelings as the 2012 season approaches. Leave it to Williams to be a buzz-kill with his usual arrogance.

Williams displayed plenty of smugness with reporters when hyping his newly-finalized roster. Scott Merkin of reported that Williams was asked if he knew that Jones was a possibility to make the team.

Williams' response?

"Couple of weeks ago," said Williams, as to when he knew Jones would make the team. "The coaching staff has to get comfortable with their own assessments. That's why we have our morning meetings sometimes. But a couple weeks ago it became evident to me that he had taken that next step and he had to go out and prove it and prove it to the coaching staff."

Listening to his press conference live on the radio, I couldn't help but pick up on the way Williams answered the question.

Those fans who are turned off by Williams' know-it-all attitude can be assured that the White Sox GM was in full "All In"-mode when talking about how perceptive he was about Jones.

Jones is a hard-thrower whose heat is of the 100 MPH variety. He reportedly boasts a big curveball and has been developing a change up in spring training. Unlike Williams, he had a refreshing attitude about making the jump from Double-A Birmingham to the majors.

"My wife was the first call, my dad was the second call. I let them know," Jones said. "They were screaming and hooting and hollering. It was a lot of fun."

Jones is genuinely happy to be with the White Sox. He doesn't care how manager Robin Ventura uses him. He's just ready to come up and contribute.

The story here is that a young hurler is getting a surprise role in the show. It really isn't about the "I knew it all along" assertions of a GM who can look back to last season and see that he doesn't have all the answers. Nor should it be.

Just the same, I wish Williams could catch some of Jones' exuberance. I also wish Jones good luck as Opening Day nears.