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Chew on these Sox nuggets
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 9/13/2007 12:06 AM

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News, notes and a nugget or two on the 2007 White Sox, who will be officially laid to rest in 18 days:

• Like most major-league general managers, Kenny Williams says a lot without saying a thing. Take Tuesday for example.

While discussing Ozzie Guillen's five-year contract extension, Williams absolved the Sox' manager for the club's worst season since 1989. To his credit, Williams placed the bulk of the blame on his own shoulders.

Then, the GM proceeded to send a message to his players (at least the ones that will be back in 2008).

"I'm the one that has to put them in a better position to win baseball games,'' Williams said. "That means going out and making the necessary adjustments to get this team where we are better, and get guys back up to their normal level of production.''

Outside of closer Bobby Jenks, not one White Sox player is at his "normal level'' this season. That is both baffling and sad.

• Put this in the wink-wink, nod-nod category.

GM Kenny Williams said he is going to wait until the organizational meetings in November to discuss roster changes with manager Ozzie Guillen and the Sox' coaching staff.

That might be true, but you can bet Williams already has a lengthy list of names he is going to pursue this off-season, either through trades or free agency.

Even as the White Sox were moving toward the World Series championship in 2005, Williams had a trade lined up that eventually landed Jim Thome from the Philadelphia Phillies for Aaron Rowand.

• Speaking of Thome, there has been plenty of talk he is washed up. The numbers say otherwise.

Without a doubt, the 37-year-old designated hitter is not nearly as durable as he used to be. But lost in his push for 500 career home runs is Thome's clutch hitting.

Heading into Wednesday, he was batting .326 with runners in scoring position. Even better, Thome has jumped to .435 with RISP and two outs.

• The Sox love Gavin Floyd's arm, and they are thrilled with his last 3 starts (18½ innings, 17 hits, 6 earned runs).

If Floyd finishes strong, the White Sox will have one less worry when they trade either Jose Contreras or Jon Garland this winter.

• The White Sox have a plethora of holes to fill, but the free-agent market is paper-thin this year.

Don't be surprised if the Sox go back to Japan for some help.

The top prize is Kosuke Fukudome, but the five-tool outfielder had surgery in August to remove bone chips from his elbow.

The Sox are going to need a new shortstop, and 31-year-old Tomohiro Nioka (Yomiuri Giants) is going to be on the market, as is 32-year-old Hitoki Iwase, a standout relief pitcher.

And don't forget about second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, who was traded to Philadelphia on July 27.

Iguchi played very well in place of Chase Utley, the Phillies' injured all-star second baseman. Now, he's riding the bench and Iguchi will soon be shopping for a new team.

Danny Richar is still a project, and the White Sox could use a proven player like Iguchi.

The White Sox, particularly manager Ozzie Guillen, like Japanese players because they know how to play the game the right way. As the Sox have shown this season, they are severely lacking in that department.