ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Bobby Jenks doesn’t need to storm into the office of Ken Williams and ask the general manager what’s going on.
Not that it would make the trade rumors swirling around the White Sox closer necessarily go away anyway.
No, the solution is much easier – win.
It’s that simple.
Williams can tell the players whatever he wants to in team meetings, but the bottom line is the Sox will push forward intact as long as the product on the field is staying within range of the first-place Minnesota Twins.
And even if it drops too far out of view, that doesn’t mean a complete fire sale is in the plans.
Look no further than the disastrous 2007 season, in which the Sox were basically out of it by mid-May. When it came time to start throwing decks chairs overboard on the sinking ship, only Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak were July sacrifices.
Post-World Series, Williams has all but refused to tap out on a season, no matter how bleak it looks.
Even if Jenks is moved by the July 31 trade deadline, he might be one of only several players to change addresses.
“I don’t make those decisions,” manager Ozzie Guillen said of that scenario on Saturday. “I’m the type of guy, I wish I have the same players for the rest of my life, but that’s not going to happen. That’s Kenny’s decision, and what he sees and what he wants and needs and moving players out of here, I just got a small portion of the opinion, especially what we’re going to do.”
Guillen reiterated the fact that not only does Williams not like to lose, but he doesn’t like hosting South Side sales, either, no matter what the standings say.
“I don’t think Kenny is going to give up easy,” Guillen said. “I don’t think he’s going to cash in this season. The thing is if we don’t go anywhere in the next couple months, well, [Williams] has to make a decision.”
Jenks is also making a decision.
Asked about how much a trade possibility is weighing on his mind, the righty said, “No, It’s the same thing with the other stuff. You would just drive yourself crazy thinking about it. I just let the ball bounce wherever it does.”
Jenks was then asked if that comes easy for him.
“Yes and no,” he replied. “Your curiosity, you still want to know what’s going on. That’s what is great about these guys. You can go in and ask if you wanted to. I think right now, we are playing good baseball and starting to win some series and if we can keep doing that, we shouldn’t have to worry about it.”
More importantly, Guillen is still showing faith in Jenks, vowing to use him out of the bullpen, no matter what the role is.
“As long as he’s here, I’m going to pitch him and I don’t see this team a better team with him not out there,” Guillen said. “We will, if we have to move him out of the closer’s role, but I think we’re a better team when he’s closing.”
Whether that’s true or not, at least Guillen knows he has options. That has been on display this year, whether Jenks has been in a rut or fighting a calf injury like he is now.
Besides Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz, rookie Sergio Santos threw his name in the hat as far as wanting a chance to close, and could get his wish.
“We got it covered,” Guillen said. “We got guys who can do that. Look at Santos and the way Thornton threw the ball, even J.J. Putz. We have three, four guys who can over that space until [Jenks] comes back [from the calf injury].”