TUCSON, Ariz. -- Angry and disgusted with the latest comments from former slugger Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams fired back Sunday, calling the two-time MVP "an idiot."
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams says he's fed up with the way Frank Thomas is talking about his former team. "He's an idiot. He's selfish. That's why we don't miss him," Williams said, responding to a Thomas interview that appeared in The Daily Southtown, a newspaper in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, Ill.
Since signing with the Oakland Athletics last month, Thomas has made it clear that he didn't appreciate the way his 16-year run with the White Sox ended, saying that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf didn't call him to tell him he wasn't coming back.
The greatest hitter in White Sox history reiterated that point in his latest interview, touching on several subjects and adding that he and Williams didn't see eye-to-eye after Williams became GM following the 2000 season.
At the time, Thomas was unhappy that his next-to-last deal with the White Sox contained a "diminished skills" clause. He said the White Sox should have traded him after the playoffs that season.
He also repeated that had he known last fall the team wasn't going to bring him back -- they later gave him a $3.5 million buyout -- he wouldn't have participated in a couple ceremonial functions during the postseason. Unable to play because of an injury, he threw out a first pitch during the playoffs. Later he was given the opportunity to address the crowd at the end of the White Sox's victory parade.
Williams said he was most irate over Thomas' comments about Reinsdorf.
"I've got a lot of respect for Jerry Reinsdorf, I do. But I really thought, the relationship we had over the last 16 years, he would have picked up the phone to say, 'Big guy, we're moving forward. We're going somewhere different. We don't know your situation or what's going to happen.' I can live with that, I really can," Thomas said.
"But treating me like some passing-by-player. I've got no respect for that," he said.
Thomas said he wasn't bitter or angry and had joined the A's with an open mind.
But Williams was fed up that Thomas was still making remarks about his former team and the way he was treated.
"Jerry has done everything over the course of 16 years to protect that man, to make accommodations for him, concessions for him. He loaned him money, at times, when he needed money," Williams said.
"If he was any kind of a man, he would quit talking about things in the paper and return a phone call or come knock on someone's door. If I had the kind of problems evidently he had with me, I would go knock on his door," he said.
Thomas has been bothered by foot and ankle problems the last two seasons. He hit .219 with 12 homers in 105 at-bats last season. He missed the first two months while recovering from surgery on his left ankle and then broke the ankle in July, ending his season.
When the White Sox re-signed Paul Konerko and traded for Jim Thome, Thomas' days with his only team were over. He apparently didn't see it that way -- at least not at first, saying he thought he would get a restructured deal to return. He is 52 homers shy of 500 and a lifetime .307 hitter.
"We don't miss him, by the way," Williams said. "If you go out there and ask any one of my players or staff members, we don't miss him.
"We don't miss his attitude. We don't miss the whining. We don't miss it. Good riddance. See you later," he said.
Williams said he planned to express his feelings in person to Thomas when the opportunity presented itself, perhaps this spring.
"I'm a general manager and I'm supposed to be above these things. But again, when is enough enough?" he said. "He brought us to this point. So, OK, you want to play this game? You've got it. You got it. He's the Oakland A's problem right now. ... He better stay out of our business. He better stay out of White Sox business."
Manager Ozzie Guillen, a former teammate of Thomas', didn't want to get involved.
"I won't put my nose in something above me," Guillen said. "He never mentioned my name and if you don't mention my name, I try to stay away from every part of the conversation."
Konerko, who has been with the White Sox longer than any player on the roster after Thomas' departure, said he understood the ties that Thomas had to his former team after such a long career.
"There are a lot of emotional things involved there," Konerko said. "Frank is his own man and can do what he wants." ----------------------------------------------------------
Now, this is the kind of thing I'd expect from Ozzie, but to see it coming from Kenny Williams...I'm surprised, but also, I'm lovin' it. I loved Frank Thomas as a White Sox, but they were definitely a better team without him.
Normally you would think a pitcher going to the NL to the AL would struggle, but I think Willis will thrive as a #4 starter playing in front of a sold-out ballpark with a line-up that should get 6-7 runs a game.