Sox Drawer: Kenny Williams Not a Happy Camper

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Sox Drawer: Kenny Williams Not a Happy Camper

Wednesday, September 23rd

"I'm not the happiest camper here in Chicago."

Those were the words of a frustrated and, as he put it, "grumpy" Kenny Williams before Wednesday's game against the Twins. That's what happens to a general manager when he watches his team collapse under the pressure of a pennant race like the Sox have here in September.

What has disappointed him the most? Williams first mentioned the 67 unearned runs his team has given up this season (most in the American League), a plague he described as "disturbing."

His relief corps? "The names are good, but they haven't met expectations" said Williams. When asked about Bobby Jenks and whether he thinks Matt Thornton can become the closer if they don't bring back Jenks, Williams deflected the question, saying "Bobby Jenks is under contract" and claimed that his confidence in him "is still high."

Despite the Jake Peavy injury and the struggles of Alex Rios, he wouldn't take either of those trades back.

With Jim Thome gone, he's not sure if they necessarily need left-handed pop in the lineup. On-base percentage to him is more important now...not home runs. When asked if the team couldn't overcome the loss of Thome, Williams said "If they did, then we weren't strong enough to win the damn thing. We just weren't."

Kenny said he has also noticed "which players have quit and who haven't." Interesting.

When I asked him to elaborate on that, Williams would only say that when the team arrives in spring training, they'll all be on the same page in terms of fighting until the end.

Staying on that same theme, he added "I don't want to see anyone quit" the rest of the season.

So who will be here next year? Despite already being out of the race, Kenny is watching his team very closely.

A reporter asked if it's important to send the first-place Tigers a message. Said Williams, "It's important some guys send a message to me."

Auditions are underway.

Thats My Grandson

Last Sunday, my good friend Matt took his 5-year-old son Charlie to his very first White Sox game. One of the highlights of the day was taking Charlie into the gift shop to buy him a souvenir to commemorate the occasion.

While looking at a row of White Sox jerseys, Matt told Charlie he could pick one out. It was his choice. Whatever he wanted.

Charlie didnt know any of the Sox players by name, but one jersey immediately caught his eye.

I want that one, Charlie said.

You sure? Matt asked.

Yep!

And with that, Matt grabbed the 15 jersey of Gordon Beckham and took it off the rack.

I really have no idea why he chose that one, Matt later told me. Five-year-olds are mysterious creatures.

As they walked over to the cash register to pay for the Beckham jersey, a woman with reddish-brown hair came over to them.

She seemed visibly moved. Matt wasnt sure why.

Excuse me, said the woman in a sweet, southern accent. I just want you to know that Im Gordons grandmother, and I am so pleased that your son chose his jersey.

Charlie isnt the only one. Gordons jersey has lately been the Sox 1 seller.

She just happened to be Gordons 1 fan.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."