Sox Drawer: Williams on 'the most disappointing year'

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Sox Drawer: Williams on 'the most disappointing year'

When you're the general manager responsible for investing 127 million on a baseball team that wins only 79 games and finishes 16 games out of first place, you're not exactly going to be a happy camper. These are the facts Kenny Williams has to live with this off-season, how a team that had so much potential never came close to meeting expectations.

With the White Sox season now two weeks in the rear-view mirror, Williams is still digesting what happened, and it doesnt taste good.

"It's the most disappointing year that I've had in baseball," Williams said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. "I thought we had another opportunity to position ourselves for another championship."

So what kind of position are the White Sox in now?

"We do have some payroll limitations. It didn't work out last year. That was the gamble by going out on a limb payroll-wise and it backfired. We lost money, bottom line," Williams said. "Are we going to now take the same gamble? The answer to the question is no. Weve got to take a step back, but that doesn't mean we're not going to try to win just the same."

Changes to the White Sox roster are coming. That's a given. As for who and how many?

"I can't even look at that until we sit down as a group. I don't want to do that right now because the wounds are still fresh. We are a very frustrated group, because we had expectations. Let's not be reactionary based on all of that disappointment too quickly, because these are players with track records. So let's take a deep breath, clear our heads, come back, and make some good solid decisions."

The biggest decision might be what do about free agent Mark Buehrle. He's prepared to test the open market, and with the Sox cutting payroll they might not be able to afford him.

"He's made no mistake about it, he wants to be back here," Williams said. "We would like him to be back here. Does it all fit together? I don't know yet."

With Theo Epstein headed to the Cubs, you can forget about assistant general manager Rick Hahn crossing over to the other side of town to fill the GM role. But the Angels and Orioles have openings. Others will pop up if not this year, then next year. Is Williams concerned he's going to lose his right-hand man?

"Sure, but if it happens I'm happy for him. He's one of the brightest minds in the game. He's been an asset around here for sure. I'd like to see him get an opportunity. If that comes now, great. It's coming. I know that."

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.