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The 30 GM's: Ken Williams Of The White Sox
Authored by Douglas Benton - 8th July, 2006 - 9:29 pm

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While they might not be the number one baseball show in Chicago yet, the White Sox are approaching that plateau very quickly as they look primed and ready after winning the 2005 World Series. This season has been no different, as the White Sox look to battle the Detroit Tigers all the way down the stretch for the best record in baseball.

Williams took over control of the White Sox on October 24th, 2000 and promply started putting his imprint on the team. In his five full seasons at the helm, Williams? White Sox teams have never finished below .500, but were also never able to get much better than that.

It began to change to 2004 after Williams fired then manager Jerry Manuel and hired former White Sox Ozzie Guillen to direct the team and quickly overhauled the make-up of the organization to accomandate the philosophy change of power hitting to small ball.

Williams inherited the top farm system in baseball in 2001, according to rankings by Baseball America, and has used this wealth as a means to add more proven players. Some of the established players he has brought in are Freddy Garcia from the Seattle Mariners, Jim Thome of the Philadelphia Phillies, Javier Vazquez from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Scott Podsednik from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Garcia and Vazquez show a dedication by Williams to have strong starting pitching, Podsednik was the primary move in the shift to small ball, and Jim Thome allowed the White Sox to part with longtime superstar Frank Thomas, thus ending the era on the old regime.

As far as his tendencies go, Williams is a risk-taker who is both willing to make the big move (Thome) and give the controversial player another chance (A.J. Pierzynski). He uses his minor league system for depth at the major league level, but mostly sees it as valuable trade chips in possible negotiations with other teams.

He really works well with the philosophy of his managers, but his risk-taking style has led to some poor trades that have set the franchise back. However recently, he has hit gold and is one of the better general managers in all of baseball.

Signature Move: Ken Williams made the bold shift in philosophy with the deal on December13th, 2005 that sent a top young slugger in Carlos Lee to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for speedy leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik and pitcher Luis Vizcaino, and a player to be named later. Then and now, this deal is a big loss on paper for the White Sox because Lee is one of the top power hitters in the game and will command a lot more than a leadoff hitter on the open market, but Williams gambled that this new philosophy with the right players would pay off. It did just that with a World Series sweep over the Houston Astros in which Scott Podsednik won Game 2 with what else, but a home run.