Seeking answers, Williams makes first '15 trip
White Sox executive VP reminds reshaping process is about future as well as present
DETROIT -- There is a reason why Ken Williams accompanied the White Sox to Minneapolis and Detroit as part of this three-city, nine-game road trip. And as the team's executive vice president quipped on Friday, that reason was not to shop at the Mall of America or buy a new car in Michigan.
"I came here because I had questions, concerns and things I wanted to address and make sure that these guys still believe that they can win," Williams said. "Because what's at play here, is when we set out to build this club, it wasn't just putting pieces together for this year."
Williams went on to explain that this reshaping process undergone by the White Sox over the past three years was not solely designed to win in 2015. It was sped up by the free-agent additions of David Robertson, Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche, not to mention the acquisition via trade of Jeff Samardzija, but the expressed goal of general manager Rick Hahn always was to build a base to win multiple World Series titles.
So this season also was about the growth of Avisail Garcia in right field, center fielder and leadoff man Adam Eaton building off his breakout season in '14 and rookie phenom Carlos Rodon being brought into the starting rotation. That future looks brighter with some of these talented young players in place, players with definite room to improve, but it's hard to overlook the struggles of the present roster.
And where the 2015 team is concerned, Williams was very direct in terms of its immediate playoff potential as of June's close.
"We've got to push," Williams said. "We're going to have to have a run, and the great thing is, you can imagine that because you run Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija and Rodon and Jose Quintana out there.
"You can imagine going on that kind of a run, and we do have the pieces. Certainly right now, if I'm being honest, I don't see any indication of that. But you never know what's going to click at a given time and you go on a roll."
The White Sox need a little more offense and better fundamentals to support the strong starting pitching and well-aligned bullpen. If that doesn't happen, then the team will be making changes before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The organization will have to decide what's best for the team in the present and the future.
Suffice it to say, Williams is surprised and disappointed in this team's current shortcomings.
"I told my mother I wouldn't cuss in the newspaper any more, so I can't tell you," Williams said. "You have to imagine the words I have to describe how I'm feeling on this. We have a lot more people around here that are a lot more patient than I."