Big League Stew - MLB

With due respect to the other newsmakers of this baseball offseason, Ruben Amaro of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ken Williams of the Chicago White Sox continue to show why they're the craftiest and most surprising general managers in the majors.

Theo Epstein adding Carl Crawford(notes) and Adrian Gonzalez(notes) at the winter meetings was stunning, but only to a point. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are supposed to get the best players; they're certainly in better position than the rest of the league to do so. 

Amaro (pictured left) and Williams, while playing in big markets, have less margin for error than Brian Cashman and Epstein. Going for any player who earns top dollar is a bigger risk for Philly and Chicago.

The Phillies leaped from the bushes on Monday to get Cliff Lee(notes) in free agency a year after they traded him away in a deal that brought Roy Halladay(notes) to town. From MLB.com:

"We're like, 'Whoa,'" center fielder Shane Victorino(notes) said. "I had heard about this mystery team. I was like, 'There's no way it's us.' Then I heard the Phillies were back in it. [...]"

And like he did with Jake Peavy(notes) in late 2009, Williams pounced on Adam Dunn(notes) earlier this offseason when nobody considered Chicago to be a player. And he managed to keep Paul Konerko(notes) in the fold, too.

Further, the plucking of pricey Alex Rios(notes) from waivers in '09 seemed a mistake to many, but Rios was one of Chicago's best players in 2010. 

Said Williams (via MLB.com):

"It's uncomfortable sometimes, but you either are all in or you are not. And if you are not, then present that message to your fans. Be straight and say, 'I don't think we are going to do very much and here's the plan going forward.' If you are in it, stand up and show you are." 

White Sox fans and Phillies don't have to worry about that, because of who's in charge of their teams.

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave

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