White Sox general manager Ken Williams said Friday that he is not shopping Bobby Jenks and too much has been made of a perceived rift between the team and its closer.
Williams insisted he hasn’t had any trade talks involving Jenks and added “we value him here” during a conference call with Chicago reporters. The winter meetings are next week and he’s in no hurry to make a move.
Jenks’ status has been an issue since the end of last season, when a calf injury sidelined him for the final two weeks. The team called out his conditioning, suggesting it was to blame for a statistical slide that saw him finish with his lowest save total (29) in four full seasons as a closer and his second-highest ERA (3.71). He made it clear in an interview with MLB.com in October that he wasn’t happy about that.
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Williams said Jenks “understands how we feel” and the organization has always “been on the same page with Bobby – get out there in the best shape you can, give yourself the best opportunity to succeed and have the best chance for success.”
The White Sox already have made several moves after going 79-83, adding depth to their bench by re-signing utility player Mark Kotsay and signing five-time All-Star Andruw Jones and 11-time Gold Glove winner Omar Vizquel.
The White Sox could still use a leadoff hitter, another left-handed reliever to go with Matt Thornton, a veteran backup to catcher A.J. Pierzynski and maybe another outfielder.
Williams said he’s “not afraid” to go without a prototypical leadoff hitter, as they did two years ago when they won a division title. He also says he has “asked around” about acquiring a veteran to back up Pierzynski, although the White Sox “have options” that include prospect Tyler Flowers.