White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, speaking from his team’s Spring Training location in Glendale, yesterday said the Sox won’t be in on Pujols, should he actually reach free agency after this season.
In doing so, Williams criticized the current economics of the game, even going so far as to suggets a shutdown in order to straighten things out.
“For the game’s health as a whole, when we’re talking about 30 million dollar players, I think it’s 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 aren’t going to stop the insanity, I’m 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: it’s a luxury Williams says he doesn’t even want.
“I personally, from a competitive standpoint, would love to be on an even playing field with everyone,” Williams said. “But it’s 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 he’s not the only one.
“Jerry Reinsdorf put it best when he and I had a conversation about it, he said, ‘It’s 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.’” CSNChicago.
I must confess, I have some respect for Williams advocating a position that goes against his interests (though, given that Reinsdorf supports the position, Williams isn’t really going out on a limb) – though it’s probably a popular, if quiet, position among baseball executives outside of New York and Boston.
It’s nice to learn that there will be one fewer large market team bidding on Pujols, if nothing else.