-- Kenny Williams is optimistic that the last-place Chicago White Sox can still win the AL Central despite their "embarrassing" start to the season.
Williams, the team's executive vice president, acknowledged to the Chicago Sun-Times that the White Sox have been disappointing following their offseason overhaul.
"To say we haven't clicked on all cylinders would be an understatement," Williams told the Sun-Times on Monday. "It's been sloppy. At times it's been embarrassing."
The White Sox (23-26) enter Tuesday's game with the Texas Rangers in last place in the AL Central, but Williams thinks they still have what it takes to win the division.
"The good news is we have a lot of baseball players with a lot of heart, we have the talent and we believe we have the drive in these guys to ultimately win the division," he told the paper. "I said during spring training that this team was built for the long run and would grind from Day 1 to 162 and I still believe that."
The White Sox have scored an AL-worst 179 runs and have hit just 32 home runs, the lowest total in the league. Chicago's pitching staff also has struggled to a 4.15 team ERA, the fourth worst in the league.
But Williams cited Chicago's poor defense as a specific reason for his frustration. The White Sox have committed 35 errors, the fourth most in the AL.
"The defensive side has been the source of most of my angst because that's the thing you can control the most in this game," Williams said. "Catch the ball and throw it where it needs to be thrown and make the right decisions. ... Again, it's not because we don't have the talent and ability. We just haven't put it together yet."
The White Sox went 73-89 last year following their 99-loss season in 2013, prompting Williams and general manager Rick Hahn to acquire three former All-Stars -- Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera -- and veteran slugger Adam LaRoche last offseason.
Williams believes those newcomers, along with Chicago's existing core that includes Chris Sale, Jose Abreu, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton, should perform well enough for the White Sox to contend for the postseason.
"We have a lineup that no matter who the pitcher is should compete and battle one through nine and do some damage," he said. "We have a little speed at the top and the bottom, a little power in the middle and some good average hitters and base runners. We just haven't put it all together yet."