Fire Kenny Williams
B Sports Editorial
A recent spate of good play has the Whitesox contending again for the Central Division title so it may come as a surprise that this column will advocate the dismissal of longtime GM Kenny Williams at this point of upswing in the team’s fortunes.
Last night’s performance encapsulated the problem with Kenny Williams’s construction of this squad. Facing the struggling sinkerballer Fausto Carmona the Sox exhibited a characteristic lack of patience at the plate. Hacking at everything and anything the Sox managed just 3 fly balls to 16 ground balls and only 4 hits of which 2 belonged to the centerfielder DeAza. Offensive ineptitude has become the norm with Greg Walker as Whitesox hitting coach.
The fact that Walker still collects a paycheck from the team should be the ultimate indictment against Williams’ tenure as GM. Aside from the veteran Paul Konerko, not one single Whitesox player has shown any significant improvement as a hitter under Walker’s tutelage. Meanwhile a significant group of the team’s hitters have severely regressed while the team’s younger players like Beckham and Morel continue to struggle. Overall, Walker doesn’t seem able to prepare and implement a plan for the Sox hitters against opposing pitchers, many whom we face on numerous occasions during the season with little success.
That DeAza has been acting as the catalyst on offense is another indictment of Kenny Williams’ tenure as GM. Williams has consistently been reluctant to allow younger players to step into important roles with the team when veteran players fail to produce.
Instead we trot out a line-up with veterans who struggle on a daily basis. As GM, Kenny is responsible for putting the best 25 guys on the field no matter what the manager’s preference may be. While it’s understandable that players like Rios and Dunn would be given a period of time to establish themselves based on their respective resumes it makes no sense that guys like Vizquel and Pierre were playing so often when better options existed at the minor league level. The emergence of De Aza has successfully challenged Rios to play better and made the team stronger. If De Aza would have arrived earlier who’s to say Pierre would not have turned the corner sooner or that De Aza’s at-bats in his stead would not have significantly improved the squad.
This same situation applies to Adam Dunn. There is no question that the Dunn’s contract will be an albatross around this team’s neck going forward. However, in the midst of a pennant race, with your main competition in the division struggling, there is no reason to continue losing important at bats when you have Dayan Viciedo pounding the ball at AAA. Dunn has had enough time to overcome his slow start. He has shown no sign that he will be turning the corner anytime soon. Viciedo should be on the big squad at least handling DH duties against left handers. This situation is more imperative now that A.J. is hurt.
That Kenny has failed to address these problems is a sign that he may be managing for his own neck rather than the team’s fortunes this season. In sticking with Rios and Dunn for so long Kenny is hoping to justify the substantial amount of money he has invested in these fading stars. In doing so he’s jeopardizing the team’s slim chances at a Central Division title this season and failing in his job as GM of the Whitesox.