D-Backs ship 12-time All-Star to White Sox
The White Sox acquired Alomar from Arizona on Thursday, the second straight year Williams has traded for the 12-time All-Star second baseman for the stretch run. For Alomar, the White Sox gave the Diamondbacks a player to be named and cash.
"Obviously, you've got to deal with the fact that we're six games back. But I do not accept that we don't have enough talent to win this thing," Williams said. "Robbie's a smart pro and one who's not afraid of the August and September heat -- and I'm not talking about the temperature outside.
"As we go down the stretch here, you simply have to play smart baseball," Williams added. "You cannot give away games. We need to pick it up."
Alomar, 36, batted .309 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 39 games for Arizona. He missed 56 games with a broken right hand after being hit by a pitch in Milwaukee on April 20.
Williams said Alomar will be used at second base and designated hitter, and might also play some third base.
"I don't know how I'm going to do that, because I've never seen him play third," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think Robbie is going to come here as a DH and second baseman. How much he's going to play here, we're going to see what kind of shape he's in.
"I'm not going to guarantee that he's going to play every day until he earns a spot to play every day."
Alomar, who will be reunited with his older brother, Sandy, is expected to be in Chicago for Friday night's home game against Cleveland.
"I always enjoy being able to play with Robbie," Sandy Alomar said. "He's playing real good baseball these days. He brings a lot of experience at the top of the lineup. He knows how to make the pitcher work. He knows how to play the little game, but he can also play the big game."
Arizona has the worst record in the majors, and Alomar had been mentioned previously as a possible trade candidate as the Diamondbacks looked to unload some veterans. Steve Finley and Brent Mayne were traded to Los Angeles last weekend, although ace Randy Johnson remained with the team.
"I think that he's happy," said Sandy Alomar Sr., the Colorado Rockies' third-base coach. "He's probably going to have a chance to play more over there.
"He was bored and he's hungry to play. He was playing good over here at Arizona, unfortunately, though, they just didn't play him."
Alomar's best game with the Diamondbacks was his last. He went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs Tuesday night against Florida.
Diamondbacks manager Al Pedrique explained to Alomar that the front office was committed to developing young second baseman Scott Hairston.
"With the direction we're headed right now, we need to find out from these kids what we've got," Pedrique said. "I told Robby it's a great situation for him going to the White Sox. He's going to be playing with a veteran team."
With power hitters Frank Thomas, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee, solid pitching and energetic new manager Guillen, the White Sox were preseason favorites in the AL Central. Williams boosted the team's chances by trading for right-hander Freddy Garcia in June.
But Thomas and Ordonez are on the disabled list, the pitching has been sketchy and Chicago has lost eight of its last 10. An 11-0 drubbing by Kansas City on Wednesday night dropped the White Sox a season-high six games behind Minnesota.
A similar scenario cost the White Sox the division last season. After taking a two-game lead in the AL Central on Sept. 9, they lost 10 of their next 15 and wound up four games behind Minnesota. The collapse cost manager Jerry Manuel his job.
"The players are the ones that are going to make us all succeed or fail," Williams said, defending his coaching staff. "Sometimes you've got to look in the mirror, and we are simply not getting it done on the field."
Williams said he isn't questioning his team's desire, heart or talent. But the White Sox are making mistakes that infuriate him and have cost the team games.
In Alomar, the White Sox get a proven leadoff hitter who can also bunt and do the other little things Williams wants. The switch-hitting Alomar is a career .301 hitter with 209 home runs, 1,126 RBI and 474 stolen bases in 17 seasons with San Diego, Toronto, Baltimore, Cleveland, the Mets, the White Sox and Arizona.
He hit .253 in 67 games for the White Sox last year, but the White Sox didn't offer him arbitration.
"We are going to get back in this to a greater degree and we needed more depth," Williams said. "We've got to rethink about how we go about our offensive attack. We've got to be smarter. We've got to be that much more on top of our game in order to pull this thing out."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press