Kenny Williams has made a splash in the offseason by hiring first-time manager Robin Ventura to lead his team in 2012 and beyond. The back and forth between him, former manager Ozzie Guillen, owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and pitching coach Don Cooper has grown tiresome as well. Williams was back in the news Friday when he said the White Sox were not in “shopping mode.”
Perhaps it is premature to even comment on such things, but this may be Williams’ attempt at keeping the White Sox in the news while Theo watch finally came to a close on the North side. Williams should have a short list of things to do before the season starts. He has about 90 million dollars in contracts already in place for next year with Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Sergio Santos, A.J. Pierzynski, and Alexei Ramirez. I wouldn’t imagine the payroll being more than last year’s 127 million.
The winter meetings could provide some answers as to where the Sox will stand in the AL Central. Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Matt Thornton have all come up as trade candidates. The team is in need of immediate impact players and not players that will sit in AAA until mid-season or whenever the first injury comes about. To avoid more criticism, the team has to put major league ready players around Ventura. The team isn’t expected to win the World Series in Ventura’s first year, but they need to contend. The team was operating at a stadium that was full a mere 60% of the time last year.
Williams told ESPN 1000 in an interview Saturday, “if we’re going to move our valuable pieces, it’s going to be for major league-ready talent as they can grow with this nice nucleus in place.” The nucleus is said to be the speedy Alejandro de Aza, Dayan Viciedo, Brent Morel, and Tyler Flowers. Where Flowers fits in is undetermined. Don’t be surprised if A.J. is asked to waive his no trade clause. Flowers can DH while Dunn plays first in case Konerko needs a rest. Can Flowers grow while only playing every fourth or fifth day though?
All this offseason has provided is questions for the White Sox and their fans. It is obviously early and less than a month since the last game of the year, but the fact no one has a clear cut answer to provide is a bit worrisome. The fans and I hope someone has the answers. and we all hope the answer doesn’t involve rebuilding.