GM Williams says 'big breakup' is not needed for White Sox
CLEVELAND -- Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams unexpectedly joined his struggling team on the road Tuesday and pledged to continue rebuilding it before he starts tearing it apart.
Williams felt obligated to get to Cleveland, one day after another horrific performance by the club's bullpen. The White Sox nearly blew a nine-run lead against the Indians before holding on for an 11-10 win.
The win felt like a loss to manager Ozzie Guillen, who said many of his position players were "asking questions, like, 'What's going on here?'"
Williams, who wasn't planning to make any part of Chicago's 11-game road trip, said he still believes in the White Sox (41-50), who entered Tuesday 13½ games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
"I'm here to face the music," Williams said, standing outside the White Sox clubhouse before Tuesday's game. "I put the team together and it is not performing as it should. Our manager, pitching coach and position players should not have to answer as to why the bullpen is not getting it done.
"We brought in players we believed have the ability to do the job. They do, but for whatever reason, they are not doing it. From what has happened, it would be ridiculous for me to stand up here and say we were right."
Chicago's bullpen has been the main culprit in the White Sox's slide to fourth place in the division. The relief unit has gone 3-13 with a 7.52 ERA and blown nine saves in its last 58 games.
Before Tuesday's game, the club sent right-hander Nick Masset to Triple-A Charlotte and purchased the contract of Ehren Wasserman.
Williams has previously promised to make other changes if his club didn't deliver "championship caliber" play before the July 31 trading deadline. However, Williams isn't quite ready to toss away these hole-filled Sox just yet.
He's open to trades, but mostly he'd prefer to just tweak the team.
"A big breakup, a demolition, is not needed," he said. "There's a lot of talent on this ballclub and we need to bring it out and maybe add some parts. If the opportunity presents itself to upgrade or shuffle the deck, I have been given no reason not to do it."
Williams said the club has been hurt by the loss of right-hander Mike MacDougal, who is on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation.
However, he's not making any excuses for a star-laden team that's underachieving in many areas.
"Mike MacDougal has some of the best stuff in the big leagues," he said. "We depended on that. We thought the back of the 'pen was solid. We've got a great manager, a great pitching coach. They're not guilty. It's because I didn't get the right pieces.
"So, now it is back to the drawing board."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press