Perspective on pursuit of top talent
Here’s a little interesting side note attached to covering Ken Williams during the Winter Meetings or during really any high-traffic period where trades are the focus, whether it’s the offseason or the non-waiver trade deadline. Williams never has been afraid to pull the trigger on a big deal, make that an extremely big deal, and he’s never been afraid to listen on potential inquiries.
No player is off-limits, although some are less likely to be moved than others. Factoring in all of these particular circumstances, and it’s easy to see how the White Sox are linked to many a big-name player.
Earlier in the week, I was talking to Williams and asked him about Jake Peavy. Williams said the two had talked and that Peavy was fired up and ready to go for 2010. He said the purpose of this call to his new ace was to sort of pick Peavy’s brain about a former teammate, getting a feel as to what fit he would have in the clubhouse.
When I asked Williams if that player in question was San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez, not expecting any sort of direct answer, Williams paused and then gave me a “No comment.”
Let’s move ahead to Monday, the first official day of the 2009 Winter Meetings, and jump to the half-way point of Williams’ 20-minute session with the media. Check out this following interaction.
“If you didn’t have Jake Peavy, would you be in on Roy Halladay?” a reporter asked Williams of the Toronto ace, who is known to be on the market.
“No comment,” Williams responded with a smile.
“Are you in on Roy Halladay?” another reporter asked.
“No comment,” Williams answered, still smiling.
Either Williams is trying to acquire both Gonzalez and Halladay, judging by the similarity of his responses, or the White Sox general manager has become Major League Baseball’s consummate poker player. Before the Halladay press conference is planned at U.S. Cellular Field, though, remember the right-hander has a full no-trade clause, has expressed a desire to stay in Florida for Spring Training and would probably cost the White Sox either John Danks or Gavin Floyd, along with prospects such as Jordan Danks, Daniel Hudson and/or Tyler Flowers, as a purely hypothetical talent package in return.
And there’s no guarantee Halladay would be anything more than a one-year rental, set to earn $15.75 million in the final year of a three-year, $40 million deal. Of course, I’m taking a huge leap based on two simple words from Williams, who would have probably asked about Babe Ruth’s availability if he was running a team at that point.
Then again, it’s easy to dream about the big catch when Williams is at the helm, even though he readily admits the team is in a financial holding pattern. One reporter I was talking to on Monday night said he never would count out the White Sox.
As for the potential pursuit of Juan Pierre, the Dodgers want a starting pitcher in return for the leadoff man/outfielder and the White Sox would want a sizable portion of the $18.5 million owed him over the next two years to be picked up. Doesn’t sound like a fit.