Has Kenny Williams' time run out?
How much time does a World Series victory buy you? The White Sox won the 2005 World Series and they advanced to the ALDS in 2008, but otherwise have been a disappointment. How long do you give a manager and a general manager in those instances? Like the Cubs, they consistently spend in the top five, so the 2005 World Series isn't an excuse.
Rumor has it that Ozzie Guillen might be on his way out as manager. His antics may have finally gotten old. Kenny Williams is another story entirely. Like his crosstown buddy, Williams has made some questionable calls over the years, and some moves have really backfired on him. You have to wonder how much more rope he is going to get.
Team Payroll: $127.8 million (5th)
Composite Ranking: 12.6
Analysis Score: -7.6
Kenny Williams has blown more money here than on other areas of the roster. He spent a truckload on Adam Dunn this offseason and that move has been an unmitigated disaster. This is one of those instances where you can't hold it against him in his analysis grade. No one could have predicted a collapse of that magnitude. However, when you add Juan Pierre and Alex Rios into that group, you see an impressive list of duds.
They aren't completely devoid of talent. Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko have been very steady over the years. Carlos Quentin was acquired for a song and, while he has been inconsistent, he was still a great bargain. The main issue has been the homegrown talent. Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel were recent draftees who haven't panned out yet. Add them to the list of expensive duds and you see why the offense is less than stellar.
Their rotation is amongst the deepest in baseball, but they lack the knockout punch to make it deep in the playoffs. Jake Peavy was supposed to be that guy, but he hasn't been nearly the pitcher he was in San Diego. The others have been very solid, but unspectacular. John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Mark Buerhle have been steady. The development of Philip Humber allowed them to deal Edwin Jackson for Zach Stewart and Jason Frasor.
They have impressive depth in the rotation, but they will always struggle without a legitimate staff ace. Williams is hoping Peavy returns to health and prominence, but that becomes less and less likely with each passing season. For now, they will have to settle on being competitive, but not brilliant.
This is the one area where Kenny Williams has seemingly gotten it. He allowed a few old veterans to move on their way (most notably Bobby Jenks), and turned the torch over to some hard throwers. Sergio Santos, Chris Sale and Matt Thornton combine to give the White Sox the deepest bullpen in the Central division. Jesse Crain was added in the offseason as well, and he has been brilliant. Jason Frasor just throws icing on the cake.
Response to Crisis
It's funny to mention response to crisis with Kenny Williams, because he really hasn't responded to the biggest crisis. Alex Rios and Adam Dunn have been horrible this year, and he really did nothing to address it. Brent Lillibridge has gotten more time than usual and has done well with it, but otherwise those two keep getting on the lineup card somehow.
The Edwin Jackson trade was one of those deals Williams really couldn't pass up. The Blue Jays were going to flip Jackson for what they really wanted, so Williams took full advantage of the situation. He not only unloaded Jackson, but he also threw in Mark Teahen. Teahen had lost his third base job and was just sitting on the bench earning his four million plus. Now, the Blue Jays get that contract.
Analysis Score: -7.6 (24th)
Kenny Williams should be in as much hot water as Jim Hendry was. Both had more than $125 million to spend and could not muster better than a .500 record over the past few seasons. There are always plausible excuses to be offered, but the best don't need them.
Williams needs a lot of excuses, and in terms of analysis, he has some. Adam Dunn shouldn't have been this bad, and if he had performed normally they would be in the heat of the race. However, when you are already living on borrowed time you don't have the room to take on disappearing acts.