By Joe Cowley Staff Writer
NASHVILLE – It’s been a nice little credo for the past seven years or so, but “under the radar’’ is easier said than done for general manager Ken Williams these days.
Private negotiations with free agent outfielder Torii Hunter gone public were the latest examples of that.
But spending the next four days in what can only be described as the cavernous Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Williams will not only have what seems like miles of land to pull off his latest covert operations, but plenty of trees and bushes to hide behind in what can best be described as a make-shift Hillbilly Rain Forest.
Already acquiring outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Arizona Diamondbacks this afternoon, Williams’ tinkering with the outfield isn’t finished. The Sox are now rumored to be “heavy players’’ in the free agent sweepstakes to land Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome.
The Japanese media in attendance have described the left-handed hitting Fukudome as a cross between Ichiro and Kaz Matsui, able to play center field or the corners. The problem? He is still weighing a decision on staying in Japan to play or going Prince Akeem and “Coming to America.’’
Time is a luxury, however, the Sox do not have, still waiting to see what happens with Boston outfielder Coco Crisp in the Johan Santana rumors, as well as deciding if they want to up the years for free agent Aaron Rowand and starting negotiations with their former center fielder.
One thing is for sure, though. At least Williams will have plenty of room to operate this week.