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GM Ken Williams drops ‘R’ bomb on White Sox fans

For first time his 12 years with Sox GM Ken Williams used word “rebuilding.” | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

For the first time in his 12 years with the Sox, GM Ken Williams used the word “rebuilding.” | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 8, 2012 10:32AM

DALLAS — Ken Williams has dropped plenty of bad words in his 12 years as White Sox general manager.

Never one as foul as the one he muttered several times on Tuesday.

Earmuffs, Sox fans.

“It is the start of a r---------,’’ Williams said, in the wake of the trade that sent closer Sergio Santos to Toronto for top pitching prospect Nestor Molina. “And you guys know I have not used that word in 12 years. But it is the start of a r---------.’’

Now go out and get those season tickets!

Plenty of good seats available.

It isn’t very often that a GM comes out and uses such language in December, still well over two months before spring camps even start. But this is where the Sox are these days. Make that this is where Williams has taken the Sox these days.

Bad moves over the last four years lead to hard decisions that have to be made.

Santos was the first shoe to drop. There will likely be more. You don’t drop a “r--------’’ and then only trade a Sergio Santos.

Sox fans are smart enough to know that, and veteran Sox players are well aware of which direction this is now heading.

One player told the Sun-Times on Monday that if proven players were moved for youth, he would like to be traded. And while reliever Matt Thornton wouldn’t go that far on Tuesday, the news of Santos being moved had the lefty wondering how soon his name will now come up.

“It’s hard to say right now,’’ Thornton responded, when asked if “r---------’’ makes him want to jump ship. “This is the time of year that I worry about getting myself ready to go for the major-league season. Do what I have to take care of.

“If I’m part of a team going young, so be it. But if we’re going young, I’m sure I’m the next piece to go.’’

At this point, who knows who will be the next to go? What the Santos deal showed was that no player was safe as the Sox try to move forward from one of the more disappointing years under the Williams regime.

As for what Williams is getting back, Molina’s minor-league numbers are flat-out ridiculous. Video-game-type stuff.

Four years ago, it still would have been easy to make that leap of faith that what Williams was doing would somehow work in the Sox’ favor. Not now. There have been too many Jeff Marquezes shoved down the throats of Sox fans, too many Daniel Hudsons sent elsewhere.

No, Molina’s big-league performances will tell us all if this was a good deal, and that might not be until the 2013 season.

Until then, there are now more questions than answers, like who is the closer?

Williams threw out a lot of names, but not one proved last season that he was more consistent than Santos at it.

New manager Robin Ventura was then asked the same question.

“When I talked to you [Monday], I knew who it was,’’ Ventura replied. “But obviously, you know, right now you’re going to wait and see how the rest of this week goes and figure it out from there.’’

With rumors about Thornton, John Danks and Carlos Quentin still floating out there, Ventura might have to start looking for more than just a closer.

So, Robin, how do you think this will play with Sox fans?

“Everybody would like to sign 10 new guys to high contracts and everything else, as a fan base, to be more excited,’’ Ventura said. “But that’s just not the way it’s going. We’re going to have to win them over by the way we play and putting up wins.’’

Which might be easier said than done.

Especially with a team that’s “rebuilding.’’

There, I said it. It’s not such a bad word. At least not yet.

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