White Sox' GM always gives it his best shot
White Sox GM Kenny Williams watches batting practice before a game against the Cubs earlier this season.
John Starks | Staff Photographer
Give general manager Kenny Williams credit for constantly pushing to make the White Sox a better team, even when he's operating on a shoestring budget.
The July 31 trade nonwaiver deadline still is more than a month away, but Williams already has added Orlando Hudson and Kevin Youkilis.
Hudson, signed for the rest of the season May 22 after being released by the San Diego Padres, clearly was not the answer for the Sox at third base.
That led to Sunday's trade for Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox, which cost the White Sox utility man Brent Lillibridge, minor-league pitcher Zach Stewart and a relatively reasonable $2.5 million.
"At this point and time, we owe it to our fans and the men in that clubhouse in uniform to try to exhaust ourselves to be the best team we could possibly be," Williams said after landing Youkilis.
Time will tell if Youkilis has anything left.
In the meantime, let's review some of Williams' most recent in-season trades and signings:
Aug. 30, 2010: Manny Ramirez
It sure sounded good at the time, especially with the White Sox getting little production from Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones. As it turned out, Williams wasted $3 million after acquiring Ramirez off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 24 games with the Sox, Ramirez was good in the clubhouse but a bust on the field, batting .261 with 1 home run and 2 RBI in 24 games.
July 30, 2010: Edwin Jackson
This was an interesting deal.
Williams sent his best young pitcher — Daniel Hudson — to the Arizona Diamondbacks for the veteran Jackson.
While Williams preferred Jackson's experience as the White Sox were in the thick of the AL Central race, he also was looking to flip Jackson to the Washington Nationals for Adam Dunn.
That never happened.
Jackson was good for the Sox, going 3-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 starts. The journeyman right-hander was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays last July and immediately moved to St. Louis, where he helped the Cardinals win the World Series.
This season Jackson is pitching for the Nationals, his seventh team in the last five seasons.
As for Hudson, he has had injury issues and trouble throwing secondary pitches. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 6.60 ERA for Arizona.
Aug. 10, 2009: Alex Rios
Williams claimed Rios off waivers from the Blue Jays, and the enigmatic outfielder did not come cheap.
Rios still has two more years on his contract, but he has been earning his money this season after batting .227 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 2011.
July 31, 2009: Jake Peavy
After being rebuffed by Peavy in May, Williams went after him again, and Peavy waived his no-trade clause at the end of July, coming over from the San Diego Padres for starter Clayton Richard and three minor-league arms.
Peavy was hurt (ankle) when he joined the White Sox and was able to pitch only parts of the last two seasons after suffering a detached lat muscle.
This year Peavy has looked much more like his old self, going 6-4 with a sparkling 2.84 ERA.
July 31, 2008: Ken Griffey Jr.
Williams loves to acquire big-name veteran players, even if they are at or near the end of the line.
Such was the case with Griffey, who came over from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for reliever Nick Masset and infielder Danny Richar.
Griffey was OK at the plate in 41 games with the Sox, batting .260 with 3 home runs and 18 RBI.
But in Game 163, the division tiebreaker against Minnesota, the center fielder threw out Michael Cuddyer at home to help the White Sox beat the Twins 1-0 and advance to the playoffs.
July 31, 2005: Geoff Blum
Acquiring Blum in a deadline trade from the Padres was anything but splashy, but the utility infielder wound up helping the White Sox win the World Series.
Blum's solo home run in the 14th inning of Game 3 at Houston lifted the Sox to a 6-5 victory and set the stage for a four-game sweep.
July 31, 2004: Jose Contreras
A great trade for Williams, he landed Contreras from the New York Yankees for one-year wonder Esteban Loaiza.
The following season, Contreras helped the White Sox end an 88-year World Series championship drought.
June 27, 2004: Freddy Garcia
Yes, he was manager Ozzie Guillen's close friend, but Garcia also was a very good starting pitcher.
Garcia came over from the Seattle Mariners for Miguel Olivo and Michael Morse, who still are productive players.
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