- Royals Acquire Jonny Gomes
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- Royals Acquire Jonny Gomes
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Kenny Williams Rumors
Baseball has experienced intense turnover in its front offices of late, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes in a column today, and there could be more to come. Nightengale cites Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Phillies, Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners, and Walt Jocketty of the Reds as candidates for dismissal. The frequency of change represents a “new state of the game,” argues Nightengale.
- The Mariners could end up bringing in White Sox president Kenny Williams to head its front office, Nighengale reports. But Williams may also be in the running to become the new president of the Blue Jays. Reds special assistant Kevin Towers also increasingly seems to be an option for Seattle, Nightengale adds on Twitter.
- Zduriencik says that he pays no heed to the rumor mill, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. Though he’s aware that there is chatter that he could be vulnerable, the Mariners general manager explains that he can’t let that affect his work. “I’ve got eyes,” said the seven-year veteran GM. “I can see what’s going on here. I know what has not worked and what should be working and isn’t. For me to focus on any outside distractions (is non-productive).” Zduriencik stressed that he still believes in the talent base he’s compiled, explaining: “I think when you start to piece it together, there are things we need to do going forward, but I do think that there are some really solid pieces there.”
- Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs provides an overhauled, mid-season look at the game’s best prospects. He breaks down a series of different prospect classes. One of those is his list of the game’s premium pre-MLB players, which is made up of the 26 names who separated themselves from the pack. The usual suspects sit atop that list, but there are some quick-rising players as well, including shortstops Orlando Arcia (Brewers, #8), Franklin Barreto (Athletics, #14), and Trea Turner (Nationals, #15), outfielders Bradley Zimmer (Indians, #21) and Gleyber Torres (Cubs, #23), and Rays lefty Blake Snell, who shot all the way up to the 16th slot. McDaniel also lists the year’s newly-emerging prospects, the newly-professional crop of players added over the summer, and the impressive list of young players who no longer qualify as prospects.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America takes a closer look at one such swiftly-rising prospect, Nationals outfielder Victor Robles. The 18-year-old drew the attention of the organization because of his quick-twitch athleticism and high energy, and the club’s $225K bonus has paid out amply so far. It’s a lengthy piece, but well worth a read for any prospect hounds or Nats fans.
Full Story | 13 Comments | Categories: Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Jack Zduriencik | Kenny Williams | Kevin Towers | Milwaukee Brewers | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Seattle Mariners | Tampa Bay Rays | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
With a few weeks to go until the trade deadline, little is certain about what the White Sox will do. Jeff Samardzija has a litany of possible suitors, but he and other trade chips could wind up staying put depending on how the Sox fare in the coming days. No matter what happens, however, White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams told Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports that the team won’t be holding a fire sale.
“It’s important that we not lose sight of what our organization goal was, and that was to give us the best three-year window. And we’re not going to abandon that completely with only three months to play,” Williams said. “I think [Rick Hahn’s] done one hell of a job. Everyone wants to put the blame on [manager] Robin [Ventura], too, but all he can do is put the players in position to succeed. They’re the ones who have to look in the mirror and execute. If we do anything, it will be consistent with trying to maximize this three-year plan or window that we set out originally.”
After today’s loss to the Orioles, Chicago owns a 36-43 record and sits last in the AL Central, 10 games back of the first-place Royals and 5.5 games behind the last wild card spot. It’s not an ideal spot by any stretch, yet given the crowded American League standings, the White Sox are just be a hot week or two away from being right back in the hunt.
While it may be a bit too early to start selling yet, Williams said he’s open to at least hearing any trade proposal. Teams can even pitch trades for ace Chris Sale, but it’s extremely unlikely that anything will happen on that front.
“We’ve always had that mind-set that we will listen to anyone who wants to make an offer for our players,” Williams said. “How else do you know what the value is? Something may bowl you over. But we can’t envision anything happening along those lines.”
While Sale is locked up on a team-friendly deal that could run through the 2019 season, Samardzija is a different story, as he’s set to hit free agency this winter. Nightengale mentions that “every club with an urgent pitching need” has expressed an interest in Samardzija, and that the Blue Jays in particular have “strongly pursued” the righty.
If Samardzija signed an extension to remain on the south side, that would obviously change things. “We just have to get some sort of indication it’s possible or not to sign him. We have to also see if it’s realistic given our resources and the other obligations we have,” Williams said.
That said, a midseason deal seems very unlikely with Samardzija so close to the open market. While he stressed that “by no means does it take the White Sox off my list” if he hits free agency, Samardzija seemed eager to take control over his playing future.
“I worked hard to get to this spot in free agency. I just want to sign with a team that is competing every September with a chance to be playing in October,” Samardzija said. “Look, I don’t hold bad blood or grudges against anybody. I understand how the business side works. Front offices have to do what they have to do. But I also need to protect myself and make sure I’m in a situation where I can win for a long time.”
White Sox Executive Vice President Kenny Williams was included in the Blue Jays executive search, recalls Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. However, he’s happy with his current post. While he misses trade talks and the other daily duties of a GM, he now has more flexibility in his schedule. Williams has the final say in personnel decisions, but he doesn’t have to manage the day-to-day operations. That duty falls to GM Rick Hahn.
Here’s more from Chicago’s south side:
- NRI Brad Penny will earn $100K if he is assigned to Triple-A, tweets Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Penny, 36, appeared in eight games for the Marlins last season, including four starts. His last full season was in 2009. He has a 4.29 ERA, 5.95 K/9, and 2.89 BB/9 in 1,925 career innings.
- The Sox have a history of building cheap bullpens under the current leadership, but they reversed course for the 2015 season, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. The club didn’t have a good bullpen plan entering last season, and it showed in the results. Per manager Robin Ventura, “when you’re not confident in the seventh, eighth and ninth, it just deflates your team. If you blow it late, and if they don’t feel that they can win consistently, it just sucks the life out of them.” The new look relief corps, which includes David Robertson and Zach Duke, should do a much better job maintaining late game leads. The White Sox blew 21 saves last season.
- Chicago liked that Robertson succeeded with the Yankees after Mariano Rivera‘s retirement, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. His ability to thrive on the biggest stage helped the club to make a pricey multi-year commitment to Robertson. The Yankees were also interested in re-signing him, but didn’t want to go as high as the Sox. Instead, New York was able to sign Andrew Miller for slightly less and net a compensation draft pick.
The latest from the AL Central..
- We learned earlier that the Blue Jays had interest in White Sox executive Kenny Williams, but the club did not grant Williams permission to interview. Chicago’s chairman Jerry Reindorf spoke about the decision, saying “this is not the right time,” reports Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. He went on to say the club is focused on building a contender for 2015.
- Francisco Rodriguez is among the many relievers that the White Sox are looking at, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Now that the Indians have added Brandon Moss, they will shift their focus to pitching, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Specifically, they’ll aim to add more starting pitcher depth. This is already a strength for the club, but as they say, you can never have enough pitching. Presently, veterans Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin are listed as the sixth and seventh starters.
MONDAY, 12:10am: Beeston will continue to serve as the Jays’ president through the 2015 season, sources tell Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Elliott also gets comments (a couple of them tongue-in-cheek) from a number of GMs and executives about the rumors, with some expressing skepticism and others speculating why Beeston could be leaving the job.
SUNDAY, 4:33pm: Twins GM Terry Ryan is high on the list of possible replacements for Beeston, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Berardino’s source calls Ryan “a great name,” but is unsure if the Blue Jays have requested permission from the Twins to speak with Ryan about the position, which would be a promotion. A Blue Jay official tells Berardino he “would prefer Terry anytime” to the candidates that have surfaced to date.
4:10pm: Duquette appeared on MLB Network Radio (Twitter links/audio link) and told hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette, “I’m with the Orioles. I’m here to represent the Orioles at the meetings. Other than that, I have nothing to add. I do have a contract and I’ve always honored my contract.”
3:35pm: Addressing the Duquette reports, Orioles owner Peter Angelos told reporters, including the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly, “We are very pleased with his performance, and we expect him to satisfy his contract. We not only want him to, but we expect him to. We don’t want him to go away, and we don’t expect him to go away. And he’s given no indication he wants to go away. Suffice to say there is a contract that binds both parties to a four-year contract and binds Dan as the GM of the Orioles.”
2:13pm: Duquette has declined comment saying he will wait until tomorrow to speak at his previous scheduled news conference from the Winter Meetings, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.
1:11pm: Rosenthal tweets Duquette wants to become the Blue Jays’ president/CEO, with the blessing of some within the Baltimore organization, but owner Peter Angelos is standing in the way. Rosenthal adds (on Twitter) the Orioles could demand compensation for Duquette much the same way the Red Sox did when Theo Epstein left for the Cubs. Rosenthal also raises the question of how can Duquette give the Orioles his full and undivided attention when he wants to run the Blue Jays (Twitter link).
11:42am: When asked about his next step, Williams told Rosenthal (Twitter link) that he’s “focused on helping the White Sox win another championship.” However, when asked if he could resign from the White Sox, he said, “I’ve considered all options as anyone would given the set of circumstances” (link). Williams told Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune he was denied an opportunity to interview with the Blue Jays and the issue was “not new” and “that ship has sailed.”
10:48am: Duquette is very highly valued by the O’s and is under contract for three more years, so it’s very unlikely they would let him go, according to Olney (via Twitter). The Blue Jays have also discussed White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams for the role (link).
9:32am: Orioles GM Dan Duquette is a top candidate to become the next president of the Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). He adds that the move would be a promotion and it would be difficult for the O’s to stand in his way.
Duquette, 56, took over as the Orioles’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations in November of 2011 after an extended hiatus from baseball. Duquette served as the GM of the Red Sox for many years but had not been a part of a MLB front office since 2002 when he was let go by Boston. Since then, Duquette has helped turn the Orioles around as Baltimore has enjoyed three winning seasons, including playoff appearances in 2012 and 2014.
Toronto ownership is actively seeking a replacement for president and CEO Paul Beeston and sources tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com that their search has progressed to the point where it is identifying possible replacements and reaching out to other teams in cases where they need permission to talk. Olney says that Duquette has been discussed internally, which would indicate that the Blue Jays have yet to reach out to their AL East rivals for a greenlight.
Duquette’s contract with Baltimore is set to run through the 2018 season.
9:07am: The White Sox announced the promotions, naming Williams executive VP and naming Hahn senior VP and general manager. Williams will "maintain oversight and final approval on major baseball decisions,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said.
8:14am: The White Sox will announce today that they've promoted their top two baseball executives, according to Mark Gonzales of Chicago Tribune. Kenny Williams will now oversee the baseball operations department and Rick Hahn will take over Williams' duties as general manager. The long-anticipated transition will be announced at a news conference today.
Williams, 48, has been Chicago's GM since the end of the 2000 season. He is the sixth longest tenured general manager in baseball, behind only Terry Ryan (Twins) Brian Sabean (Giants), Billy Beane (Athletics), Brian Cashman (Yankees) and Dan O'Dowd (Rockies).The White Sox have reached the playoffs twice under Williams; they won the 2005 World Series and won the AL Central in 2008. Chicago finished the 2012 season in second place with an 85-77 record.
Hahn featured prominently on MLBTR's list of GM candidates last summer. He was considered for general manager jobs last offseason, including one with the Cubs. The 41-year-old has also been linked to general manager jobs with the Pirates, Cardinals, Mariners, Mets and Angels, according to Gonzales.
The White Sox will soon promote their top two baseball executives, Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com confirmed today. Williams will become the team’s president and Hahn will be the general manager and the team’s primary baseball decision maker, as expected. Here’s the latest on three of the organization’s free agents…
- Catcher A.J. Pierzynski loves playing for the White Sox and is close with owner Jerry Reinsdorf. A two-year, $16MM contract could work for both sides, Heyman suggests.
- The White Sox will decline Jake Peavy’s $22MM option, but they hope to agree to terms on a new deal to keep the right-hander in Chicago, Heyman reports. Though there will be lots of competition for Peavy, Heyman guesses the White Sox will be able to re-sign him as long as they make a competitive offer.
- The White Sox plan to decline Kevin Youkilis’ $13MM option for 2013, Heyman reports. However, they loved having the third baseman on the roster this year, so Heyman suggests they’ll try to work out a two-year contract, perhaps in the $15MM range.
5:43pm: Williams didn't comment on Nightengale's report, telling reporters (including CSNChicago.com's Dan Hayes) that the club is focused on the playoff race and won't discuss contract issues until the offseason.
3:03pm: The White Sox will promote their top two baseball executives following a surprising season that has the team leading its division. The team is expected to promote longtime general manager Kenny Williams to the role of vice president of baseball operations and shift assistant GM Rick Hahn into the GM role, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
Williams has been Chicago's GM since the end of the 2000 season. He is the fifth longest tenured general manager in baseball, behind only Brian Sabean (Giants), Billy Beane (Athletics), Brian Cashman (Yankees) and Dan O'Dowd (Rockies).The White Sox have reached the playoffs twice under Williams; they won the 2005 World Series and won the AL Central in 2008. Chicago entered Thursday's games with a 81-67 record and a two game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central.
The Twins pounded out 20 hits en route to a 10-9 victory over the Angels today at Target Field. Josh Willingham hit his third homer in as many games for Minnesota, and Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau also went yard — the first time the duo have homered in the same game since July 6, 2010.
Here are some notes from around the majors…
- Torii Hunter hasn't had any discussion with the Angels about a contract extension but understands why, he tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "I don't want to bother those guys," Hunter said. "They've had so much going on. I definitely feel no rush. It'd be nice (to get an extension offer) but if not, I understand….They have other guys like (Erick) Aybar they need to lock up. Plus they've got (Mike) Trout lying in the weeds." Hunter is a free agent after this season and will be 37 on Opening Day 2013. He said he wants to return the Angels, but if not, he wants to play for another contending team.
- Nez Balelo, Matt Garza's agent, is scheduled to be in Chicago during the Cubs' homestand, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that a potential long-term deal with Garza is the sort of "big-picture issue" that can't be measured by how Garza performs early this season or even throughout 2012.
- Separate ownership groups led by agents Dennis Gilbert and Arn Tellem could be interested in buying the Padres, reports Dan Hayes of the North County Times. A source tells Hayes that any potential buyer could bring a Padres legend like Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield or Steve Garvey to serve as the public face of the ownership group. Garvey is known to already be fronting a group that is interested in the Padres after falling short in a bid to buy the Dodgers.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams discusses new manager Robin Ventura, several players and his expectations for the team as a whole for 2012 in a Q&A with the team's TV crew (transcribed on MLB.com).
- The well-traveled Wilson Betemit is playing for his seventh team in 10 years but is only focused on helping the Orioles, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
- Andre Ethier is very focused on playing well in 2012 and putting himself in line for a big contract either with the Dodgers or with another club when he hits free agency this winter, sources tell ESPN Los Angeles' Tony Jackson.
- Danks has a full no-trade clause for the first year of his contract, reports MLB.com's Scott Merkin. Danks will have partial no-trade protection for the remaining four years, able to block deals to six teams.
- The extension "really did come out of nowhere," Danks told media (including CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien) during a conference call today. "Obviously, there was a lot of trade talk, and you can’t help but wonder and think…But I think I kind of took the attitude that until something happens I was going to prepare to be with the White Sox. Fortunately, this came along and I couldn’t be happier.”
- As Garfien notes, this is the first time the White Sox have ever given a pitcher a five-year deal. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf prefers to keep pitchers on contracts of three years or less due to concerns about health and consistency.
- From the same conference call, GM Kenny Williams said his comments earlier this month about the White Sox beginning a "rebuilding" phase were misconstrued. "We are still in win mode,” Williams said. “But at the same time that you’re in win mode, you can be in a little bit of a rebuilding phase, and I tried to articulate that, although I guess that message got lost after I said we were rebuilding. I tried to articulate that it wouldn’t be dominoes falling in terms of a true rebuilding because we have too many good veterans, and veterans looking to bounce back.”