White Sox GM Ken Williams still a believer in his team
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org June 3, 2011 9:04PM
Updated: September 24, 2011 12:23AM
The sub-.500 White Sox aren’t the team general manager Ken Williams anticipated at the start of June, and they “haven’t earned our fans’ patronage to this point.’’
But as the team opened an important homestand Friday against the Detroit Tigers, Williams insisted he remains “optimistic’’ that the Sox will contend and that struggling players such as designated hitter Adam Dunn will find their strokes.
At the same time, he voiced support again for manager Ozzie Guillen and his coaching staff, rebuffing suggestions that anyone might be sacrificed in the face of the team’s disappointing first two months.
“I have one of the best managers in baseball and one of the best coaching staffs,’’ he said, citing their persistent work ethic. “Any speculation contrary to that is just people talking and people not really being in the know. I’m sorry. I have no qualms about standing up for them and telling you that I believe in these players and I believe in my coaching staff.’’
Williams admitted he originally thought if the Sox were “four or five games over .500 at this point, I’d be satisfied with where we were. We’d be in position to make some hay in the division.
“We’re behind that,’’ he said as the Sox entered the series at 27-31 and trailed the Cleveland Indians by eight games. “We’re gotten here in some interesting ways, but we’re still in position and primed to make some hay. I’m optimistic.’’
The team’s poor play at home has a financial cost, Williams said.
“We haven’t earned our fans’ patronage to this point. We’re a lot behind the 8-ball financially, but hopefully we’ll play well enough now to get the fans back to supporting us and get us back to even. Then hopefully more fans [come] to give us the wherewithal to do some things.
“We are out on a limb,’’ he added of the team’s $125 million payroll commitment. “At the end of the day, we are either going to be right in our decision to push it a little bit or we are going to be wrong and have to try to make do the best we can.’’
Williams added that the Sox have enough talent on their roster to contend and discounted the idea that finances might restrict the team from making trade acquisitions.
“We can’t envision getting better realistically than what we have on the field,’’ he said.
To that point, Williams said he is confident Dunn, the team’s prized free-agent acquisition, will shake his slump and added that he is “just a piece’’ of the team.
“We have some other guys who are looking for consistency,’’ he said. “This guy has been one of the most productive players over the course of the last seven years, like an Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez — they’re run producers. These have been the worst two months of his career.
“I’m all about staying positive with all our guys because we know what we have in terms of talent,’’ Williams said. “It doesn’t disappear overnight. [Dunn] just has to get back to understanding how productive he is.’’