"I was really pulling for the National League and I was thinking about kicking in a player or two to make sure he got over there," said Williams with a smile, discussing Sabathia joining the Yankees via a seven-year, $161 million deal on Wednesday.
"What are you going to do?" Williams said. "The Yankees are the Yankees and they've been operating like that for a long time."
The bad news for the White Sox is that Sabathia returns to the American League, with the White Sox having a chance to face him during a home series from July 30 to Aug. 2 and a series at the new Yankee Stadium from Aug. 28-30. Sabathia has absolutely dominated the White Sox during the course of his career, posting a 14-4 record with a 3.65 ERA. He had won six straight decisions against them until a loss suffered last year with the Indians, before Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee.
But the good news is that at least Sabathia did not return to the AL Central.
"Yes, I like it when your direct competition isn't going out in the marketplace and signing CC Sabathia," Williams said. "That helps chances for success."
Williams certainly wasn't surprised that the Yankees came up with this sort of mammoth offer for Sabathia, who has allowed 141 hits over 165 career innings against the White Sox, while fanning 162. Williams also realizes the big man's addition doesn't guarantee a World Series title.
"Believe me, I respect the Yankees and the tradition of the Yankees and what they've done for years," Williams said. "Growing up, I watched how they operated, and it's exciting. The Yankees create excitement for the game and I think it's good for the game.
"However, it's not a recipe for success. There are no recipes for success in this game, and no manuals to get you to a championship. They do what they have to do, and we do what we have to do."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.