Like Hahn, Williams sees hope in Sox' near future
As his 12-year run as White Sox general manager progressed, Kenny Williams seemed to lower his profile a notch or two with each passing season.
The growing crush of media - both local and national - started taking a toll on Williams, and that's one of the reasons why he stepped down at the end of the 2012 season to become the Sox' executive vice president.
Williams hasn't been around much this year, but he did meet the press Tuesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field before the White Sox played the Tigers. He talked ... and talked ... and talked.
Williams had plenty on his mind, starting with the Sox' sorry 45-72 season.
"Obviously, you guys have written it," Williams said. "You've talked about it
throughout the course of the season and obviously we had greater expectations. We thought that first and foremost we'd catch the ball better. We thought we would execute offensively better and be a little bit more diverse with the offense, and it just hasn't manifested in that way."
Like new GM Rick Hahn, Williams expects the White Sox to be competitive again as soon as next season.
"What you look for is, does a club have the necessary pitching to compete?" Williams said. "And I think we absolutely have that moving forward. And if anything, I think we're going to be better over the next couple of years because some more guys will have some maturity and we've got some guys coming. So, that's something that you can hang your hat on and look forward to a positive future."
Hahn traded four veterans since July 12 - relief pitchers Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain, starter Jake Peavy and right fielder Alex Rios.
Williams always liked to wheel and deal when he was the White Sox' GM, and he is still adjusting to his new role.
"There are times you want to get back in the mix and, you know, get your hands dirty a little bit, but that's not my role right now," Williams said. "My role is to be a support vehicle for the coaching staff, for Robin (Ventura) and for Rick and to make suggestions."
As it stands now, the White Sox will have the No. 3 overall pick in next June’s amateur draft, so that should help quicken the “retooling” process.
“Who we are, we're still a very aggressive organization,” Williams said. “We want to win. In 2007, as bad as it was, we came back and we won in 2008. We still have some very good pieces, as evident by the amount of interest in all of our guys at the trading deadline. For whatever reason, it didn't come together or hasn't come together up to this point. But we're not again starting from scratch.
“We've got pitchers that you can send out there on a day-to-day basis and can keep you in ballgames. Then, you need to figure out a way to supplement that with your offense. While it's going to be fun to have a high draft pick for the first time since I've been around here, I don't want too many of them. That means you're not going too well. That's not who we are.
“We're going to go into the off-season and we're going to try to be winning, albeit with a younger core. If there's somebody out there that fits that bill, that fits in with a younger core for an extended period of time, why not?"