Kenny Williams Being Kenny Williams: Why Trading for Ken Griffey Jr. Makes Sense

Adam RadAnalyst IAugust 1, 2008

I was taking a shower and getting ready for work as my brother flew up the stairs and banged on the door. "The Sox signed Griffey," was what he told me. Wait...how do you sign a guy who's already on another team? As I got out, I asked, "You mean they traded for him?" "Yeah, sure," was his reply. I couldn't believe it. The Ken Griffey is coming to play for the White Sox?

Sure enough, as ESPN.com had reported it, the White Sox were making the deal--and what a bargain. The White Sox gave up Nick Masset, a relief pitcher whose season ERA was 4.34 in over 47 innings, and minor league infielder Danny Richar. Richar had less-than-average stats in 2007 for the Sox, hitting .230 with 6 HRs and 15 RBIs in 56 games. However, after the success that Alexei Rameriz has had this year and drafting top prospect Gordon Beckham--who's a shortstop but can play second--seemed like a right move.

When you think about this trade, it's a low-risk/high-reward deal. Massett and Richar weren't really in the team's future plans and didn't look to really be game-changers. Griffey, Jr., on the other hand, has the potential to contribute to the White Sox right now and make a push for a division title. Griffey has not been the same player in Cincinnati that he was in Seattle, even despite reaching 600 HRs this season. He's still a power hitter, but can he play center field?

More than anything, this gives the White Sox flexibility. Griffey doesn't have to come in and play everyday. He can play CF and give Swisher or Konerko a break or he can DH for Thome. This gives Ozzie plenty of options as the team prepares to make a playoff push.

This is a trade that I'm not surprised to see Kenny make. If he can get an impact player for a low cost, why not go for it? He knows how the White Sox can make a push this year and Griffey fits the bill of a left-handed power bat. Maybe his best spot is spelling Jim Thome, but I still think he can play center field.

Given Kenny Williams' track record, you can see that he is certainly willing to take a risk, especially if it means giving up a great player or prospect.

In 2004, he traded Carlos Lee to the Brewers for Jose Vizcaino and Scott Podsednik. Even though both are no longer on the team and Lee is a star in Houston, Podsednik was an All-Star and catalyst for the offense. He also hit the game-winning home run in  Game 2 of the World Series.

He also acquired Geoff Blum on the '05 Trade Deadline for Ryan Meaux; Blum went on to hit the go-ahead home run in the 14th inning of Game 3 of the World Series.

In November, he traded popular CF Aaron Rowand to the Phillies in exchange for Jim Thome. I hate to say Philly got the better of the trade, but seeing as how Thome has a chance at a ring this year, we'll see.

The next month, he acquired Javier Vazquez from the Diamondbacks in exchange for El Duque, Luis Vizcaino, and Chris Young. Young is blossoming into a star and Vazquez is a strikeout master but needs better refinement.

Williams didn't make any big trades in 2006 and during the season, but he did trade Neal Cotts to the Cubs for David Aardsma in the off-season.

On December 6, Williams traded Steady Freddy Garcia, a key part of the '05 championship team, to the Phillies for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez. Garcia struggled in Philly with shoulder problems, and after a year of struggles, Floyd looks to be a promising pitcher for the White Sox in the future. 

Then, 2 days before Christmas, Williams pulls off a blockbuster trade featuring a few big-name prospects: The White Sox traded Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano to the Rangers for John Danks, Nick Massett, and Jacob Rasner. McCarthy has struggle while in Texas, while John Danks looks like he could be a #2 or #3 starter next year. He has great stuff and gets a lot of ground balls.

This year, on January 3, he acquired Nick "Dirty 30" Swisher from the A's for Gio Gonzalez, Fautino De Los Santos, and Ryan Sweeney.

Obviously, Kenny Williams isn't afraid to make a deal, and his history shows that he has done a good job of acquiring talent.

Will the Ken Griffey, Jr. trade move the White Sox on up, or will it come up short of the expectations? All we know is that August and September are going to be very interesting.

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