Williams foresees 'fun to watch' '21 dynamic

November 16th, 2020

CHICAGO -- White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams is interested in seeing how Tony La Russa will interact with his team’s talented and energetic young core, a group that finished 35-25 during the 2020 season and reached the playoffs for the first time since '08.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with him on [that topic], and I think that’s actually going to be fun to watch,” Williams told MLB.com during a phone conversation on Monday. “There’s an evolution that comes with people sometimes that have had to do things a certain way to garner the success they’ve had.

“Then, there are people who stay in that lane. But there’s also people who evolve to do it a different way when different circumstances or -- in this case different circumstances and different time periods -- come about. Through the conversations, I’ve got nothing but optimism that it will be a fun thing to watch.”

The 76-year-old manager returns to the dugout for the first time since 2011, when he won a World Series championship with the Cardinals.

Williams did not comment on La Russa’s on-going legal situation involving a suspicion of driving under the influence charge from late February in Arizona. He did say it’s up to La Russa to decide when he’ll speak on his present situation.

“As an organization and as an individual, until some legal matters are settled and you are given clearance by the lawyers, then it could be not the wisest thing to comment on,” Williams said.

La Russa’s hiring has been viewed by many as driven by White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who remained close friends with La Russa since he first managed the White Sox from 1979 until he was dismissed in '86 after not seeing eye to eye with then-general manager Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. The final decision to return was discussed among Reinsdorf, Williams and general manager Rick Hahn.

“You know, you sit in a room and you debate, you discuss,” Williams said. “And you come out of the room and you come out pulling from the same rope and headed in the same direction.

“So, it doesn’t really matter how it came to the decision. The decision was made, and now it’s up to all of us to pull together and make it work.”