The Buzz: Return Of The Southside Hitmen


Typically, baseball moves are generally quiet in the days leading up to the Winter Meetings. It is at the Winter Meetings, where all the “wheeling and dealing” takes place. It is almost as if there is a new trade rumor circulating the hotel lobby filled with baseball reporters every 20 minutes. If a player so much as so goes out to a restaurant during the Winter Meetings, you can bet that somewhere that news is being tweeted, blogged, facebooked, or updated on any various social network site that there are. However this year has been quite different, while the big fish in Cliff Lee still is on the market, one team has made the most noise over the past few days. It began with signing the top hitter on the market, and it appears to be continuing with the team looking to bring back their Hero at some point next week. Folks, the Chicago White Sox in a matter of two days, have stolen the spotlight from any other team as we head into the Winter Meetings.

The Return Of The Southside Hit-Men

Hopefully the Minnesota Twins enjoyed their time as the American League Central Division Champions, because from the looks of it, the Twins could very well finish third in their division next year. That is not to say that the Twins have a bad team, it is more so a credit to the Detroit Tigers, and more specifically the Chicago White Sox.

Kenny Willams, Chicago White Sox General Manager, has got to be the best poker player when it comes to being a Baseball General Manager. I challenge you to find me any General Manager that always gets what he wants, and is not afraid to make big time splashes at any point in time. If you needed any evidence, just look at the 2009 trading deadline, when at the last minute, Williams swept in and traded for Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres. So, as you can see, Williams has a flare for the blockbuster type of moves. This off-season, has been no different for Kenny Williams and the Chicago White Sox.

Realistically, the Chicago White Sox had targeted their off-season priority, Adam Dunn, at the trading deadline this past season. It seemed clear that the Washington Nationals were going to trade Adam Dunn, and they wanted Diamondbacks’ Pitcher Edwin Jackson to come to the Nationals. So, knowing that he wanted Adam Dunn, Williams quickly called up Arizona and began working on a deal for Edwin Jackson. Soon after that, the White Sox and Diamondbacks agreed on a trade that sent White Sox Pitcher Daniel Hudson to the Diamondbacks for Edwin Jackson. Then, Williams approached the Nationals with a trade offer for Adam Dunn that revolved around Edwin Jackson. You can imagine the shock in Kenny Williams, when the Nationals told him they were no longer looking to trade Adam Dunn. Meaning the White Sox were left with a starting pitcher that they did not really need in Edwin Jackson.  However, Jackson proved to be a good addition as in 11 starts with the White Sox he went 4-2 with an ERA of 3.24. So, in the end, Williams looked like a genius for trading for Edwin Jackson.

Then comes this off-season, at the beginning of the free agency period, many felt like both A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko would not be returning to the Chicago White Sox. In fact, many White Sox fans were not too confident that the team would be contenders in the 2011 season. The White Sox first target was Victor Martinez, who they offered a 4 year/ $48MM contract to. However, Martinez spurned the White Sox in favor of their division rival, the Detroit Tigers, by signing a 4 year/ $50MM contract two weeks ago.

Then came this past Thursday, when Kenny Williams would once again earn the recognition as being one of the best General Managers in the game. News broke in the afternoon, that the White Sox had signed the top slugger on the market, Adam Dunn, to a 4 year/ $56MM contract. So, in the end, Kenny Williams winds up with both Adam Dunn and Edwin Jackson. I challenge you to find a better two part move in the history of the game.

But, the Magic was not over yet on that day. A few hours after news of the signing breaks, many were under the assumption that neither Paul Konerko nor A.J. Pierzynski would be returning to the Chicago White Sox. Especially after the team just handed a big money contract to Adam Dunn. Once the Adam Dunn contract details leaked out, we learned that Dunn’s contract is backloaded, in order to help the White Sox out this off-season.

As we were digesting the Adam Dunn signing, news breaks that the White Sox have brought back A.J. Pierzynski on a 2 year/ $8MM deal. After Pierzynski’s chances of returning to the White Sox seemed to be eliminated, Kenny Williams pulled another trick out of his bag. And, that of course was bringing back a guy in Pierzynski, who is hated by all of baseball, but, loved by the Chicago White Sox. Like Dunn, Pierzynski’s new contract with the White Sox is also backloaded.

Meaning, this only signifies one thing, and that is that Paul Konerko’s return to the Chicago White Sox is all but inevitable. In fact, the overall belief is that the White Sox and Konerko will reach an agreement at some point during next weeks Winter Meetings. So, White Sox Fans, you can tune up your vocal chords, because come next season, you will once again be chanting “Paulie….Paulie…Paulie” as #14 for your Chicago White Sox comes up to bat.

Now the question remains, What else can Kenny Williams do this winter? If Williams signed Adam Dunn, brought back A.J. Pierzynski, and set the parameters for bringing back Paul Konerko all in one day, what will he be able to do with a full week at the Winter Meetings.  That is something that bares watching as the Winter Meetings get underway on Monday.