Sox Drawer: Williams says no to Pujols, 'insanity'

293725.jpg

Sox Drawer: Williams says no to Pujols, 'insanity'

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011Posted: 4:30 p.m.
By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

GLENDALE, Ariz-- Kenny Williams said he wanted peace and quiet at spring training this season. No drama. No controversies. Just baseball and sunshine.

Well, it was good while it lasted.

With the White Sox in position to contend for an AL Central title, there is an undercurrent of hostility boiling inside him. It has nothing to do with Ozzie or Twitter. But instead, the face of baseball, Albert Pujols.

The Cardinals slugger might be thousands of miles away from Glendale, but with talk that he might command around 30 million a year when his contract runs out or re-signs with the Cardinals, Williams has looked at the present and into the future, and he doesnt like what he sees.

Consider this his warning shot to the rest of the league.

For the games health as a whole, when were talking about 30 million dollar players, I think its asinine, Williams said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. We have gotten to the point of no return. Something has to happen. And if it means the game being shut down for the sake of bringing sanity to it, to franchises that arent going to stop the insanity, Im all for it.

Considering the White Sox just raised their payroll for 2011 to around 125 million, a franchise record, one could say that Williams is just as guilty as the other big market teams who are contributing to the escalating salaries. But Williams is simply playing by the rules that the league set forth, a system without a salary cap, that gives big market teams a significant advantage over the smaller teams.

And get this: its a luxury Williams says he doesnt even want.

I personally, from a competitive standpoint, would love to be on an even playing field with everyone, Williams said. But its really difficult for me to complain too much when we still have a higher payroll than some of the others. So at least we have a fighting chance.

Pirates, Royals, Marlins...Kenny Williams is looking out for you. And hes not the only one.
Jerry Reinsdorf put it best when he and I had a conversation about it, he said, Its a shame that our game is played, and when the game starts, everybody plays under the same rules, the same 27 outs. The problem is, before the game, the rules are completely different.

Compare the Pujols situation to the NBA, where there's a salary cap. When LeBron James became a free agent last summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers, a small market team, had the money and ability to re-sign James. Forget about LeBrons intentions about where he actually wanted to play, but finances were never the issue for the Cavaliers.

But in baseball, what kind of shot do the Cleveland Indians have in signing Pujols? Zero.

If Pujols does hit the open market, only a handful of teams will be able to afford him. Would the White Sox go after him? The answer is no. Not at that price.

If (Jerry Reinsdorf) gave me 30 million dollars right now, Im not going to spend it on one guy. Sorry White Sox fans, Williams said. But I tell you what, Im going to take that 30 million and Im going to distribute it around. My team is going to be better as a whole than it is with one player who might get hurt. Then youre done. Sorry, thats just me. And thats no disrespect to a future Hall of Famer, first ballot, one of the greatest players in history.

Where is all of this headed? Nobody knows. Kenny Williams doesnt. But hes prepared for the worst-case scenario, which he believes might be the best-case scenario for the health of the league.

Youre not going to get any disagreement from me or argument from me if the game is shut down for a while until something is put in place where there is some sort of cap on the board, Williams said.

Do you think the game might get shut down?

Listen I love the game, I love the game for the players and the fans, but in order for the game to continue to be affordable for families, for guys who are hard-working guys busting their butts everyday to take their kids to a ballgame...well, hell yeah. Yes. Im okay with it being shut down.

Then Williams remembered something.

Wait a minute, didnt I say I wanted it quiet, I wanted peace? Let me shut the hell up already. I was hoping no one would ask me that this entire spring training.

And the drama begins again.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez’s teammates gave him a beer shower after he blasted the first home run of his career on Friday night.

But the rookie catcher said it wasn’t the best gift he gave or received in a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins. Narvaez’s father, Omar, was in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field and celebrating his birthday when he son blasted a 377-foot drive to right field.

“It was great, especially because it was my dad’s birthday today,” Narvaez said. “It’s a very special gift for my dad. That’s what I was thinking as I was running the bases. It’s the best thing I could do this day.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Narvaez, who hails from Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela, said his family has been in town all week to see him play. His fourth-inning homer off Twins pitcher Pat Dean put the White Sox ahead 6-0. Narvaez -- who has seven minor-league homers, including two at Triple-A Charlotte this season -- homered in his 111th plate appearance in the big leagues.

“That was awesome,” pitcher Carlos Rodon said. “I’ve been waiting a while because I know he’s got that pop. Took him a little bit, but I was happy for him.”

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

The word electric was used multiple times to describe several young White Sox players on Friday night and it wasn’t hyperbole.

Carlos Rodon tied an American League record with seven consecutive strikeouts to start a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field and Tim Anderson was an all-around force. Anderson turned several double plays and finished a double shy of the cycle and Rodon, who was coming off the best start of his career, struck out 10 to close out a stellar second half. Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez also blasted the first home run of his big league career in the victory.

“This was some electric stuff coming out,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I would say the first seven hitters were better than (Sunday’s start). He just, it looked like his confidence and end of the year, letting it out. It was definitely the best stuff-wise of having it all -- fastball, slider, mix in a change. I think that’s just a big confidence boost for him of getting to that point where he can do that.”

Where Rodon is now compared with 2 1/ 2 months ago is vastly different. Frustrated by a 2-7 start and a sprained wrist sustained when he fell in the dugout, Rodon was about as low as he’s been in his two seasons in the majors. But the North Carolina State-product vowed to treat the second half like an entirely different season when he returned from his injury and he has done just that.

Featuring a fastball that topped 99-mph, according to brooksbaseball.net, and with his wipeout slider in tow, Rodon quickly looked in control against the Twins. He struck out the side in each of the first two innings. Only two of his first seven strikeouts came via called third strikes.

Rodon’s third-inning whiff of John Ryan Murphy moved him into a tie for the team and AL record with ex-White Sox hurler Joe Cowley, who struck out the first seven he faced in a May 28, 1986 loss at the Texas Rangers. Coupled with the three strikeouts to end Sunday’s start in Cleveland (part of 11 overall), Rodon’s 10 straight strikeouts between the two games matched the most by a major league pitcher since Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne did it in 2003.

“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Narvaez said. “The slider was perfect today. He was at his best today.”

Rodon was only slowed down by a 31-pitch sixth inning as he allowed three runs (two earned). He yielded three hits, walked three and struck out 10 to improve to 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA since the All-Star break. The left-hander struck out 77 batters in 73 innings from July 31st through the end of the season.

“It’s easy to play behind him because it makes my job a lot easier when he’s striking out people,” Anderson said.

Rodon feels the same about the way Anderson has played since he arrived in the majors in June. The rookie shortstop continues to excel even though he has never played more in a season than he in 2016.  

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Anderson headed into the eighth inning with a chance to complete the cycle. Needing only a double after he tripled and homered in his first two at-bats, Anderson grounded out and finished 3-for-5.

He turned on his speed when he tripled off the glove of Byron Buxton in the first inning and scored on Melky Cabrera’s RBI double. Anderson flashed his power when he blasted his ninth home run in the third, a two-run shot that traveled 410 feet. And used his glove and arm to turn several nice plays in the field.

“He’s electric,” Rodon said. “Just watching him develop over this few months here, it’s been incredible. Making those plays in the hole and just swinging the bat great. That’s a guy our team can feed off of when he’s in the lineup.”