Expect the unexpected from Williams
With less than 48 hours until Saturday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver trade deadline comes around, the White Sox are linked to approximately two-thirds of the current rumors flying around Major League Baseball.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported Thursday how the White Sox internally believe they were out of the Adam Dunn sweepstakes. Jon Heyman of SI.com said a three-way trade scenario involving the White Sox, Nationals and D-Backs, focused on Edwin Jackson to the Nationals, Dunn to the White Sox and pitching prospects to Arizona, still was in play, and later Tweeted how the Dunn battle could come down to the White Sox and Tigers, much like the battle for Johnny Damon at the start of Spring Training.
Other players linked to White Sox interest Thursday were Colorado’s Brad Hawpe, Houston’s Lance Berkman, Toronto’s Jose Bautista and the ghost of Babe Ruth. Ok, I’m kidding on the last one.
But as of Thursday, nothing seemed imminent on the White Sox trade front. Of course, that quiet could be the calm before the storm where White Sox general manager Ken Williams is concerned. By Saturday afternoon, the posturing from other general managers on the fence concerning moving top players will end either in a deal or said player staying put.
You can count on two White Sox-related factors to play out before 3 p.m. CT rolls around on Saturday. Expect the unexpected where Williams is concerned, with the last-minute Jake Peavy deal from the 2009 non-waiver trade deadline supporting that theory, and know Williams will not make a trade just to make a trade.
At 101 games into the 2010 campaign and the White Sox sitting at 57-44, the White Sox are who they thought they would be leaving Arizona in March. It’s just a bit more dramatic road traveled because of their horrible first two months. And while they are always looking to enhance a championship product, Williams doesn’t want to do anything to disrupt his group’s 33-11 flow.
“I don’t think Kenny will make a move just to make a move,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, prior to Thursday’s 9-5 victory over Seattle, completing a four-game sweep of the Mariners. “I think he will make a move if we really desperately need it.
“When you make a move, you’ve got to try to say who are the people who we’re going to bring in, who we’re going to lose, what’s our future, what’s our present. There are so many things involved, and I bet you he is doing all those things. Believe me, it’s not fun to be in the front office in this part of the year, always. If you’re a seller or you’re a buyer, you’re going to be involved with every conversation about it.”
It has been widely assumed how the White Sox are going after a left-handed run producer or a starting pitcher. But here’s three caveats to that particular idea: the White Sox could be looking to add a starting pitcher and a hitter, the targeted hitter doesn’t necessarily have to be left-handed and they ideally would make any move without giving up top pitching prospect Daniel Hudson.
With Minor League catcher Wilson Ramos going from Minnesota to the Nationals in exchange for reliever Matt Capps on Thursday night, the Twins improved their bullpen but still are a bit short in their rotation. The acquisition of Ramos also takes away White Sox Minor League catcher Tyler Flowers as a potential trade chip in a deal for Dunn.
Berkman looks to be on the block with the Astros acquiring Major League-ready first baseman Brett Wallace from the Blue Jays in an off-shoot of the Roy Oswalt deal. The 34-year-old switch-hitter could fit the designated hitter/first base description on the South Side and would be owed just $5.4 million for the remainder of this year, with a $2 million buyout for next year. Berkman does have a full no-trade right of refusal.
During Thursday night’s victory, the White Sox knocked out four home runs and 13 hits in the four-run decision. Granted, it was done against the hapless Mariners, but there could be a solid argument made to not messing with success or at least tabling any moves until August.
Guillen is one who didn’t see a move coming before Saturday, after not talking with Williams for the past two days, while the GM was involved in meetings. But much like the design of the Peavy and Rios deals from 2009, don’t count out Williams until the last moment on Saturday–especially if the team gets markedly better through the move.
“If Carlos (Quentin) swings the bat the way he did a couple weeks ago, we’re set,” Guillen said. “Everybody has to pull it together. We have to go and continue to do what we’re doing and see what happens. I don’t have any gut feeling. I just go by ears and day-by-day.”