By S.C. Zuba
Two types of general managers exist in baseball: those who are aggressive and those who aren’t.
White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams is one of the most aggressive in the game. He makes certain the White Sox are in the hunt for almost every big-name free-agent and are in talks with teams when a marquee player is on the trading block.
Don’t believe me? See Jim Thome, Ken Griffey Jr., and most recently, the left-handed slugger Adam Dunn.
Last week, Williams and the White Sox inked Dunn to a four-year, $56 million deal. Dunn, who hit .260 with 38 home runs and 103 RBIs last season for the Washington Nationals, will add to an already-potent offense, and will likely bat clean-up next season.
If there is one thing the 6-foot-6-inch first baseman has proven over his career is he can hit the ball. This fact is evidenced by Dunn’s .250 career batting average and 354 home runs and 880 RBIs in 1,448 games with Cincinnati, Arizona and the Nationals.
Dunn will play an important role in the White Sox’s journey to regaining control of the AL Central Division. Since Thome was traded during the 2009 season, the White Sox have been missing a left-handed power hitter in their lineup—something that is no longer missing thanks to Dunn.
As the White Sox head to Major League Baseball’s winter meetings, expect more bold moves from Williams.
The next priority for Williams is bringing back the heart and soul of the Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko.
Konerko is coming off one of his best years statistically, finishing fifth in MVP voting. Through 149 games in 2010, Konerko hit .312 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs.
It’s no secret the White Sox and Williams want Konerko back, the only question is if they can afford it. Konerko will likely command at least a three-year deal worth somewhere in the area of $30 million. After committing so much money to Dunn, the White Sox would likely have to trade someone to fit Konerko’s salary in the budget.
Having Konerko and Dunn splitting time between the designated hitter position and first base, while batting third and fourth, would be a dangerously good combination for the White Sox.
Williams will find a way to turn the 2011 White Sox into a contender. It’s exciting to watch, really. Every season you know Williams will wheel and deal to put together a competitive team.
Is he always successful? No, no one is. But Williams doesn’t give up. Every season when the trade deadline approaches, it’s as if Williams goes into “GM mode.” The White Sox are always in trade rumor talks, and that is solely because of Williams’ aggression.
So, Kenny, go do what it takes. Bring back Konerko and put the White Sox back on top.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at email@example.com.
From the Dec. 8-14, 2010 issue