After taking questions on the fast-approaching nonwaiver trade deadline before Monday night's game against the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field, exasperated White Sox general manager Kenny Williams turned the tables.
"I'm not going to try and pretend with you guys (media) that I have any answers," Williams said. "You guys have been watching this team all year. Anybody got any answers? If you do, speak up."
Cue the cricket chirps.
Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen got together before the Sox opened the important three-game series with a 6-3 win in front of 37,110 on half-price night.
They parted not having a collective clue about what to make of an underachieving team that nonetheless remains in the race thanks to a weak division.
The win over the Tigers leaves the White Sox just 3½ games out of first place.
Still, the trade deadline expires at 3 p.m. Sunday, and Williams might not know whether to add, subtract or stand pat until the eleventh hour.
"Like Ozzie and I were talking about prior to coming out here, this year is a little different because we don't really know where we stand," Williams said. "To a large degree, over the next six days, we'll find out. So I'll have a better idea. I'm going through the normal drills but with different plans."
One plan is drastic.
Should the Sox be more than 5 or 6 games off the pace when Sunday arrives, you could see veteran players with favorable contracts such as Carlos Quentin, Edwin Jackson, Gavin Floyd and Omar Vizquel exit via trade.
Unfortunately for Williams and the White Sox, they are stuck with designated hitter Adam Dunn and center fielder Alex Rios because both disappointing players are under contract through 2014.
Injury-prone starter Jake Peavy is signed through next season, with a $4 million buyout for 2013. Peavy also has the no-trade clause he waived to join the Sox from San Diego two years ago.
Williams is as competitive as they come, but the GM realizes he might have to overhaul the $128 million roster if the White Sox don't come up big on this 10-game homestand.
No matter what, it's going to be a difficult decision.
"Absolutely, because on one hand you can look at potentially adding, and we would have to add creatively because of the financial situation right now," Williams said. "On the other hand, maybe this is the most opportune time to turn over the entire roster and get some young, exciting players in here, go that route.
"To a large degree it won't be me deciding, Ozzie deciding, any of the coaches or Jerry (Reinsdorf). It will be what they (players) do; they will tell us."
Williams has a glut of premium pitching, and he said opposing general managers have been behaving like "sharks in the water."
One rumor had Jackson or relief pitcher Matt Thornton going to the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade for center fielder Colby Rasmus.
"I'm not going to get into who we're talking to or what sort of deals are out there for us," Williams said. "But I will tell you this. That, as reported, is incorrect."
The White Sox also are rumored to be scouting minor-league players from the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies.
If they can build off Monday's win and keep the momentum going when Boston arrives over the weekend followed by four games against New York, the White Sox just might stay together and make it interesting.
"Lot of questions for me, lot of questions for them," Williams said. "It is what it is. At the end of the day, I'm the one who puts everyone in uniforms and I'll fall on the sword if need be. But again, at least we're sitting here in this position and saying if we play up to, or even near, our capabilities then we can win this thing because we have that kind of talent.
"That's much better than sitting here and being 4½ (games) out and saying to yourself, 'Well, we just don't have the horses.' The pitching staff has been exemplary and has carried a heavy load. Now it's time offensively for us to fight a little harder and a little more consistently."
While admitting that the calendar finally has caught up with his club, Williams reiterated he's willing to wait it out a little bit longer before purging the roster.
"Teams are interested in our players across the board," he said. "I don't want to go too much further than that to narrow down what the interest is out there. I don't want anyone to feel as though anything imminent is coming because I'd like the focus to be on these next number of games here, so we can put ourselves in a position to maybe add rather than subtract.
"I would much rather continue to fight the fight, but we need to see a little bit more consistency out of these guys. And this would be a good week to start showing it."
They still are far from being in good shape, but at least the White Sox are off to a good start in a make-or-break homestand.