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Valued reader PV writes in about the job that Kenny Williams is doing, right after the Javy Vazquez trade:

Have to comment on the trade, as it really is General Managing at its best. When Kenny started out, I know I ripped him for being immature and too much in the clubhouse (still cringe a little at some of the stuff he does); then he made some obviously bad trades, before everything turned to gold (as Chip Caray might have said!) last year.

But I can't express how impressed I am with what he's done this off-season. Maybe it's just a continuation of his aggressiveness, and there's nothing to be surprised at, that it was silly to think just coz they won he would change. But still. Many a GM has stood too pat after winning, or heck, made some changes but not as many as KW.

The Vazquez trade is just an excellent move in so many ways--first and foremost, it's proactive. He saw the silly money Burnett got, didn't want to force himself into a position of weakness next winter with Garland or Contreras, so he addressed it now before it became a problem. What's the worst case? McCarthy is in the pen doing whatever Duque was gonna do this year, and he's there when someone gets hurt or a spot start is needed, and then in '07 they have 4 starters set. And he only gave up the weakest pitchers he had, though they aren't terrible they were expendable, and the kid, who might be good, but at least they don't have to worry about Ozzie playing him over Anderson this year just coz he's fast (though now I wonder whether Ozzie's off-season touting of Young wasn't just part of the master plan anyway).

Best case: now they can flip Garland or Contreras as part of another deal for something big. There's been talk of Tejada or Blalock, and either would be great. Though I kinda think this is more hot stove fun talk than reality, as it seems a lot just to get McCarthy in the rotation. I mean, they're gonna need starting depth at some point, so why not keep it all? Unless it was a really killer deal, I'd recommend staying deep in pitching. But best of all was Kenny saying he doesn't want to be at the mercy of the market next year, which I also read as him knowing that Garland ain't worth Burnett money, but that the market may very well dictate he get it. Good for him on both counts! Garland improved last year, had a fine season, I give him props for that--but I still see him as a low margin for error guy, too many balls in play, a guy whose performance could vary greatly depending on 'luck'.

Even though the Sox deplore Moneyball, and Kenny comes off looking bad in the book, this is all very Moneyball-ish thinking. No, it's not about OBP etc., but the overarching point of that book was exploiting the weaknesses of the market, finding value--and avoiding overpaying for what isn't that valuable--and not letting the market dictate to you, but doing it the other way around. This deal seems a lot about Kenny doing just that. However it works out--and Vazquez has been more durable than good lately--I think it's pretty brilliant.

And I thought his analysis was pretty brilliant so I had to put it on the ole' blog. When you look at the list of offseason moves by the Sox and consider they are coming off a World Championship, it's very impressive. It even smells of rich mahogany.

  • Aaron Rowand
  • Frank Thomas
  • Carl Everett
  • Geoff Blum
  • Daniel Haigwood
  • Gio Gonzalez
  • Damaso Marte
  • Orlando Hernandez
  • Chris Young
  • Luis Vizcaino


  • Paul Konerko
  • Jim Thome
  • Javier Vazquez
  • Rob Machowiak
  • Chris Widger

Kudos to Kenny Williams. A few years back it seemed as if he wasn't long for the gig. Now he is the best GM in the game. He has not overpaid for anyone and Thome may be the biggest steal of 2006. Stay tuned...

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