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Admitting a Wrong: Kenny Williams vs Rick Hahn


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As a former Rick Hahn stan, I blasted and ridiculed Kenny Williams at every turn. Every bad choice made by the organization was Kenny's fault, every good one was Rick. Looking back after a decade of control, it's fair to say that the White Sox would be better off with Kenny Williams in charge and it's not even close.

Kenny took over the GM role in 2000. He held that job until 2012. In the 12 years that Kenny Williams was in control of the White Sox, the White Sox were:

1109-998 (.526 WP%). They made the playoffs three times and won the World Series once. Here's the kicker though, under the current playoff format, they would have made the playoffs SIX times in 13 years. The White Sox had three losing seasons in his tenure, with the worst being a 72 win season and two 79 win seasons. For all intents and purposes, Kenny Williams kept the White Sox competitive year in and year out, on a limited budget much of the time, and with a minimal investment in the farm system and international signings. Kenny worked around his owner who didn't give him the resources and made season after season exciting. 

Rick Hahn has been at the helm from 2012/13-2022. In Rick Hahn's tenure, the White Sox are:

695-814 (.460 WP%). They made the playoffs twice, one in the COVID shortened season. They have had TWO winnings seasons and 7 losing seasons. They had four seasons with 72 wins or fewer (that was Kenny's worst season in charge), and this was with a bigger investment in international players, a larger investment in technology and the farm system, and a top 5 payroll this past season. 

Rick Hahn is a contract negotiator and that's it; he's not a baseball guy. He doesn't know how to build a team to compete, and he doesn't know how to maintain any form of sustained competitiveness. While Tony LaRussa obviously needs to be fired, I wanted to right a wrong here today. The blame for this season is on Tony AND Rick. His insistence on paying bullpen arms and investing his resources there is inexcusable. Allowing 2B and RF to be in the bottom three in baseball in WAR when he knew it was a weakness is unforgivable. The White Sox weren't unlucky, they were poorly managed and badly prepared for the expected outcomes of their players in regards to health and longevity.

Kenny Williams wasn't the best GM in baseball, but he was a guy who put a competitive product on the field nearly every year for over a decade. He would have made the playoffs nearly 50% of his seasons under the new format, and truly only had one atrocious season. 

Kenny was better than Hahn, and it's not close. The Hahn excuse makers are some of the weirdest people in baseball to me. They are still making excuses for that bozo - blaming Kenny and TLR for his failures, yet Kenny Williams was 100% more successful than Rick Hahn as a GM, so if anything... we should be giving credit for the good moves to Kenny and the bad ones to Slick Rick; because criticism slides right off Rick.

Edited by Look at Ray Ray Run
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Your analysis is interesting although KW made some weird acquisitions of his own. Yet, the period from 2000-2006 was highly successful. Three 90-plus win seasons with only one since then. I never fully understood why the team lost momentum after that.

Williams has still been part of the organization during the last 10 bad years. I have no idea what his influence is, but he's been there. There is plenty of blame to go around the whole organization. Big changes have to come in this off-season, or the team will continue to lose credibility.

 

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I also can't see Kenny Williams going into these recent seasons without having made some home run attempt at a deal.  Maybe it worked, maybe it failed, but he would have swung for the fences and left the bottom of the roster lacking instead of vice versa.

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2 hours ago, Look at Ray Ray Run said:

As a former Rick Hahn stan, I blasted and ridiculed Kenny Williams at every turn. Every bad choice made by the organization was Kenny's fault, every good one was Rick. Looking back after a decade of control, it's fair to say that the White Sox would be better off with Kenny Williams in charge and it's not even close.

Kenny took over the GM role in 2000. He held that job until 2012. In the 12 years that Kenny Williams was in control of the White Sox, the White Sox were:

1109-998 (.526 WP%). They made the playoffs three times and won the World Series once. Here's the kicker though, under the current playoff format, they would have made the playoffs SIX times in 13 years. The White Sox had three losing seasons in his tenure, with the worst being a 72 win season and two 79 win seasons. For all intents and purposes, Kenny Williams kept the White Sox competitive year in and year out, on a limited budget much of the time, and with a minimal investment in the farm system and international signings. Kenny worked around his owner who didn't give him the resources and made season after season exciting. 

Rick Hahn has been at the helm from 2012/13-2022. In Rick Hahn's tenure, the White Sox are:

695-814 (.460 WP%). They made the playoffs twice, one in the COVID shortened season. They have had TWO winnings seasons and 7 losing seasons. They had four seasons with 72 wins or fewer (that was Kenny's worst season in charge), and this was with a bigger investment in international players, a larger investment in technology and the farm system, and a top 5 payroll this past season. 

Rick Hahn is a contract negotiator and that's it; he's not a baseball guy. He doesn't know how to build a team to compete, and he doesn't know how to maintain any form of sustained competitiveness. While Tony LaRussa obviously needs to be fired, I wanted to right a wrong here today. The blame for this season is on Tony AND Rick. His insistence on paying bullpen arms and investing his resources there is inexcusable. Allowing 2B and RF to be in the bottom three in baseball in WAR when he knew it was a weakness is unforgivable. The White Sox weren't unlucky, they were poorly managed and badly prepared for the expected outcomes of their players in regards to health and longevity.

Kenny Williams wasn't the best GM in baseball, but he was a guy who put a competitive product on the field nearly every year for over a decade. He would have made the playoffs nearly 50% of his seasons under the new format, and truly only had one atrocious season. 

Kenny was better than Hahn, and it's not close. The Hahn excuse makers are some of the weirdest people in baseball to me. They are still making excuses for that bozo - blaming Kenny and TLR for his failures, yet Kenny Williams was 100% more successful than Rick Hahn as a GM, so if anything... we should be giving credit for the good moves to Kenny and the bad ones to Slick Rick; because criticism slides right off Rick.

Kenny Williams is Rick Hahn's boss. He's the executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox. Rick talks to the media and does the day to day GM stuff because Kenny didn't want to anymore. Nothing in this organization happens without Kenny Williams' approval in most cases though. 

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Something to remember is Kenny Williams inherited a wonderful farm system constructed by Ron Schueler. Kenny utilized that to its fullest and while I appreciated him putting competitive teams on the field constantly, his neglect of the farm system (or mismanagement) led to a lot of the problems after he moved upward. 

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5 minutes ago, wegner said:

Hahn's choices with the bullpen over the last 2 seasons is reason enough to fire him imo.  Do a crappy job, lose that job, that's life....sorry.

The owner forced a manager on the front office and that manager had a penchant for wanting as many single inning relievers as possible. Tony La Russa had the team that he wanted. They can fire Rick Hahn. That's fine. Without an entire house cleaning though, I doubt much changes. Ken Williams will be employed until he decides to leave. 

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12 minutes ago, Y2Jimmy0 said:

The owner forced a manager on the front office and that manager had a penchant for wanting as many single inning relievers as possible. Tony La Russa had the team that he wanted. They can fire Rick Hahn. That's fine. Without an entire house cleaning though, I doubt much changes. Ken Williams will be employed until he decides to leave. 

Isn't Kenny supposedly leaving after 23 when his contract ends?

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24 minutes ago, Y2Jimmy0 said:

The owner forced a manager on the front office and that manager had a penchant for wanting as many single inning relievers as possible. Tony La Russa had the team that he wanted. They can fire Rick Hahn. That's fine. Without an entire house cleaning though, I doubt much changes. Ken Williams will be employed until he decides to leave. 

While true, even if it doesn't change, its worth a shot, because it isn't working. Maybe someone, and it's been proven it's not Rick Hahn, can get this team, including JR and KW on the right path.

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2 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

I don't know the contract status, but Kenny did say in an interview that when this contract he was currently on ended, he was leaving the White Sox.

His wife already retired from NBC news. I think it won't be too long.

Edited by Dick Allen
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2 minutes ago, Dick Allen said:

While true, even if it doesn't change, its worth a shot, because it isn't working. Maybe someone, and it's been proven it's not Rick Hahn, can get this team, including JR and KW on the right path.

Why would this hypothetical person take the job with Ken Williams overseeing him? 

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29 minutes ago, Y2Jimmy0 said:

The owner forced a manager on the front office and that manager had a penchant for wanting as many single inning relievers as possible. Tony La Russa had the team that he wanted. They can fire Rick Hahn. That's fine. Without an entire house cleaning though, I doubt much changes. Ken Williams will be employed until he decides to leave. 

Rick Hahn has been investing heavily in relievers before Tony LaRussa ever walked in the door. 

Rick Hahn traded for Craig Kimbrel.

Rick Hahn gave Kendall Graveman a 3 year deal.

This nonsense that it was Tony... or Kenny... or Jerry is just laughable at this point. Rick Hahn is the general manager of the team, the buck stops with him. Part of being in charge is receiving feedback and acting on the feedback you agree with and talking your way out of the feedback you don't.

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7 minutes ago, Look at Ray Ray Run said:

Rick Hahn has been investing heavily in relievers before Tony LaRussa ever walked in the door. 

Rick Hahn traded for Craig Kimbrel.

Rick Hahn gave Kendall Graveman a 3 year deal.

This nonsense that it was Tony... or Kenny... or Jerry is just laughable at this point. Rick Hahn is the general manager of the team, the buck stops with him. Part of being in charge is receiving feedback and acting on the feedback you agree with and talking your way out of the feedback you don't.

While RH has made bad decisions, the issue I have with Reinsdorf is that it's clear that the buck DOES NOT stop with Hahn. It sounds like Hahn had no say in the managerial search, and some of the acquisitions were TLR's call.

That's why my plan, if I were JR, would be to either fire him on the spot, or to give him 2 years of complete control and autonomy. If the situation isn't turned around 180 degrees in 2 years, fire him.

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12 minutes ago, Look at Ray Ray Run said:

Rick Hahn has been investing heavily in relievers before Tony LaRussa ever walked in the door. 

Rick Hahn traded for Craig Kimbrel.

Rick Hahn gave Kendall Graveman a 3 year deal.

This nonsense that it was Tony... or Kenny... or Jerry is just laughable at this point. Rick Hahn is the general manager of the team, the buck stops with him. Part of being in charge is receiving feedback and acting on the feedback you agree with and talking your way out of the feedback you don't.

Yes. Still am totally baffled by signing Kelvin Herrera for $18M / 2 years while they were tanking, among other moves. Also signed Robertson to one of the team's highest all time contracts at the time. Kenny never sought high priced relievers during his tenure. He focused on acquiring Starting Pitching and Position Players, treated relievers as fungible, and developed several from within over the years. They went through 3 or 4 closers their WS year.

Edited by South Side Hit Men
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