Kenny Williams is keeping things level going forward by re-signing the entire White Sox staff through 2011. Which makes perfect sense to me, no matter how much of a bummer 2009 ended up being for the Sox. As Williams said, “at the end of the day, it’s the players that make you look smart or make you look dumb, and right now we’re all not looking too smart.”
But while Williams is unwilling to make scapegoats out of his coaches, he’s got no problem with throwing his players under the bus:
”I know who’s quit and who hasn’t, who’s willing to sacrifice. It’s hard to win. Winning and success, whether it be baseball or any other facet of life, if you are not willing to sacrifice, you’re not willing to put in the work, you’re not going to be successful. You’re just not. … If you are not willing to do that, I can’t have you here and I will send you to a better place for you.”
Williams wouldn’t name the alleged quitters’ names, but did say “I am certainly looking at it very hard and see who is willing to make the sacrifice to win.”
The fact is, the failure of players to “sacrifice” is not the White Sox’ problem. The guys they have are basically performing as you’d expect them to perform. The problem is that they simply don’t have a ton of good players, and no real superstars to speak of.
Usually, the blame for a lack of good players falls on the general manager. Rather than own up to that, Williams is trying to turn the White Sox 2009 story into one in which his team, or at least part of it, quit. Maybe a diehard southsider has a different opinion, but my take of the Sox this year doesn’t bear Williams’ view out at all.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.