Part one of the review of Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams left off after a 2005 World Series Championship. But as sports in Chicago go, what has he done for us lately?
In the winter months between 2005 and 2006 Williams made major changes to a team that had just won a title. But these changes were needed and it looked like Brian Anderson was ready to take over as the center fielder of the future from Aaron Rowand.
But we were wrong or at least our general manager was.
Rowand was traded for left handed slugger Jim Thome in order to give us much needed lefty power. To a degree the move worked out but the results in 2006 weren't what they were in 2005 and thus, everyone to this day longs for the "fire and the passion". Rowand had a great season with the Phillies and led them to the playoffs in 2007 while Thome put in one of the best offensive seasons in White Sox history in 2006.
It's not his fault but Thome got old quick. He's still a productive bat in the lineup but he's constantly battling the injury bug and the fact that his bat has gone from 40-50 home run power to 25-35 home run power.
Not too shabby for a "decline".
Either way this trade would be graded as a C. It's average as can be because Williams misjudged his center fielder in waiting, Anderson.
He also parted with bally-hooed prospect Chris Young, an outfielder deemed expendable with Anderson, Jermaine Dye and Scott Podsednik out there. He was sent packing along with a rusty Orlando Hernandez and reliever Luis Vizcaino to make the rotation look like one of the best all time with the trade for Javy Vazquez.
On paper it all made sense.
I went bonkers over the news and thought...DYNASTY.
I was wrong.
Everyone forget to remember one thing about Vazquez, he's not a big game pitcher or even a medium game pitcher (if that makes any sense).
In 2006, when the White Sox were still contending for a playoff spot, Vazquez didn't provide the help the team was looking for. Sure, he had the big strikeout numbers (187) but he that's about it.
Vazquez won only 11 games with a 4.84 ERA on a team with 90 wins.
His 2007 season was better but (no shocker) the White Sox were not contenders at any point and in 2008, when the club was in contention, Vazquez dissapeared to the tune of a 12-16 record and an ERA of 4.67.
Everyone was frustrated and it eventually bought Vazquez's ticket out of town. He couldn't play for a contender and after manager Ozzie Guillen questioned his ability to pitch in big games, he faltered.
The return for the pitcher wasn't what anyone expected. Tyler Flowers, a catcher, appears to be the only one of value from that trade to Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Braves are enjoying a 2.99 ERA from Vazquez but aren't quite in the playoff hunt.
Meanwhile, everyone blasted the White Sox for trading Young to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first place. Young wouldn't have started on this year's team or last years' team. He's a 30-30 threat but his his batting average is barely .200.
Not long after the intial trade for Vazquez, Williams sent busted prospect Joe Borchard to the Seattle Mariners for Matt Thorton in what looked like a nothing-for-nothing deal.
Big win for Williams here obviously. He fleeced the Mariners out of one of the best left-handed setup men in the game for nothing.
In the following years, Williams has come up absolutely golden on the trade market if you ignore the Nick Swisher trades.
He swiped John Danks for the Texas Rangers for mediocre at best Brandon McCarthy. He then shipped out Freddy Garcia's busted arm to Philly for Gavin Floyd and then sent Jon Garland for Orlando Cabrera.
All three of those moves were critical in winning a division title in 2008.
Did I mention they got TCQ for a minor league first baseman?
As far as the trades within the past six months or so, Williams has come up roses but it remains too soon to call the Jake Peavy trade good or bad.
Time will tell but overall, Williams is an underappreciated general manager.