Ken Williams wanted to add to White Sox at trade deadline
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter August 4, 2014 10:42PM
Updated: August 5, 2014 12:10AM
From his perch in the executive vice president’s chair, Ken Williams likes what he has seen in this mixed bag of a season for the White Sox.
Jose Abreu has been a game-changer, but the bullpen has been a bust. Adam Eaton is a table-setter and go-get-em outfielder, but the guy supposed to be on his left (Avisail Garcia) has been hurt.
With 49 games to go after their rain-shortened 5-3 victory against the Texas Rangers on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox are likely too far behind in the wild-card picture to be a factor. Considering they blazed a backward trail to 99 losses a year ago, a 55-58 record is progress.
“We aggressively went out to remake our club,’’ Williams said. “A lot of what has happened can be characterized as a step forward. But when you lose [to injury] your closer [Matt Lindstrom], your setup guy [Nate Jones] and what you think is going to be an impact right fielder [Garcia] in the middle of your lineup — not to mention Adam Eaton getting hurt — I have to give our guys a lot of credit. They have fought and scraped their way to still be relevant and have an outside shot to do something.’’
With a dilapidated bullpen, iffy defense on Eaton’s flanks, a lack of offense at a couple of spots in the lineup and a starting rotation in need of a top-notch right-hander, one school of thought says it’s already time to turn the page to 2015.
But Williams said he and general manager Rick Hahn had looked to get better in 2014 at the trade deadline, which passed without a deal.
“We discussed a variety of possibilities — we’re all competitive people,’’ Williams said. “We looked to add to make this team better for today and also knowing our window here is coming in the next year or two. We weren’t going to do anything that was counterproductive to that.
“It wasn’t that we didn’t want to [deal], it’s that nothing fell our way.
“We were trying to add.’’
While many in the industry believe it makes financial sense to seek a taker for the last two years of John Danks’ five-year, $65 million deal, Williams said the Sox aren’t necessarily thinking that way.
“Oh, we’re looking for wins,’’ he said when asked if Danks (9-6, 4.50 ERA) was being shopped. “We’re fortunate enough that where we sit, the payroll this year [about $90 million] is far less important than building our team back to where we can dream about championships again.
“Nothing changes with the plan. The plan is to become as good as we possibly can as quickly as we can.’’
Abreu will facilitate that plan. He celebrated being named Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month for the second time with singles in his first two at-bats, the second of which off Rangers starter Nick Martinez drove in two runs.
Tyler Flowers, resurgent after a hot start and terrible slump, was a double short of the cycle.
He hit a triple off the top of the right-center-field fence and cracked a homer against Martinez (1-8), then had a two-out, two-run single to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth after reliever Nate Adcock had struck out Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza with the infield pulled in.
Abreu is batting .307 with a major-league-best 31 homers and 86 RBI. Eaton (2-for-2, two walks, 1-for-2 stealing) hiked his average to .309. Conor Gillaspie hit his 27th double.
The game — delayed at the start for 22 minutes because of the threat of rain — was halted at
10 p.m. after Hector Noesi (6-8, 4.97) completed his seventh inning. Noesi gave up three runs, four hits and three walks against the team that had put him on waivers in April.