White Sox GM Kenny Williams got the rockstar treatment at Sox Fest after bringing in Adam Dunn last year. A 79-83 season later, the reaction was far different Friday, as he was booed during introductions.
“I was booed in 2004 and 2007 and we went to the playoffs the next year, so bring it on. Hopefully we’ll be three for three,” Williams said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. “The guys on stage were trying to determine a percentage, and the consensus was 10 percent. I thought it was more like 20.”
Williams had to be prepared for the reaction after he allowed Mark Buehrle to walk and traded Carlos Quentin and Sergio Santos this winter. His team has been completely silent in free agency, and none of the players picked up in trades figure to help immediately. More than a couple of high-priced veterans will need to have bounce-back seasons for the team to challenge in the AL Central this year.
“The Tigers are clearly the team to beat in our division,” Williams said. “We’ve been clearly the team to beat in our division a number of times, too. It didn’t exactly work out well for us. Let’s hope it doesn’t work out well for them.”
For the full interview, head on over to CSNChicago.com.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.