Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Winter Meetings Day 2

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LAS VEGAS - Day 2 of the Winter Meetings left general manager Ken Williams feeling very calm and very left out.
He met with the media, along with Ozzie Guillen and the Mount Rushmore of the Dodgers' front office on Tuesday, to discuss the move to Glendale for the spring training facility the two organizations will share, and then huddled with the Chicago media alone to let them know that there was nothing to see here.
"Other than general pleasantries, I haven't had any conversations with anyone,'' Williams said. "It's early in the day and I'm sure I'll run into some guys. I don't expect that anything will materialize.''
There were still Jermaine Dye rumors floating around throughout the afternoon, with Atlanta now the strongest suitor for the outfielder's services, but Williams was one again thumping his chest about the in-house youth that will be handed legitimate shots at starting jobs.

On Jerry Owens:

"Listen, the fact of the matter is this: I have confidence in the players we're bringing back. Obviously, a couple of them had setbacks. But in my opinion, Josh Fields, Jerry Owens - we're talking about those two players in particular. It's very simple - they were battling injuries. I'm not going to hold that against them. I know the type of talent that they have, possess. And I think they're going to be assets to us. It's just that simple.''

On Brian Anderson:

"We can go round and round about this stuff every day. I'm going to keep saying the same thing I've always said - I believe in Brian Anderson. The talent and the ballplayer is there. Now he's got an attitude as such that he gets it now. He's working hard. He had a great attitude last year, and I think performed. I think if he had a full season of at-bats underneath him last year, he'd had hit you 25 home runs and driven in 80-plus runs. On the average side, you guys know I'm less concerned with average than on-base percentage. I'd like to see him cut down on strikeouts and pound the ball to right center a little more. Other than that, we're talking about some talented players that I'm not going to give up on. I believe in that.''

On payroll constraints:

"I think it has a great affect on it. It is what it is. I've used the line before you can't give someone a dollar when you don't have 50 cents. And we're in a position where I don't want to minimize any of the support we get because we've come a long way from where we were in fan support, and the last number of years we've been a top tier payroll team. So it's not a matter of our willingness to spend money. It has to come within a consistency with a plan of winning, that it will help us take the next step. And in this particular point in time, we're in a state where we have to give some of these young players an opportunity, assess where we are, and if there's opportunity, we're in position where we have enough support, we'll take advantage of it when the time is right. Don't worry about that. The aggressiveness has gone anywhere to how we're going to operate.''

The bottom line so far:

"Not too many people talking to us, so there's not really a need for me to do too much listening.''

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With the Reds acquiring Ramon Hernandez that leaves IMO one team the Braves that Dye might get traded to. What I believe Trader Kenny should do is trade Dye to the Braves for a potentially great not just good leadoff man and hopefully also get a left handed bat to replace Thome when he retires. Then sign Jon Garland to a 3 year contract which reportedly he is open to based on the market. Signing Garland would give the Sox a strong rotation for 2009 and beyond. Trading Dye for a leadoff guy and lefty bat sets them up big time for 2010 and beyond.

Lets put aside 2009 for the moment and imagine a Dye trade for Gorkys Hernandez and Freddie Freeman. Baseball Prospectus ranks Gorkys and Freeman as 4 start prospects and Gorkys as the 4th and Freeman as the 5th best prospects in the deep Braves farm system. Gorkys is a AA speedster and Freeman is 20 year old lefty hitting first baseman who throws righty. Without Thome and Swisher the future Sox lineup is very right handed in the middle of the order. It is hard prying pitchers out of Atlanta so Kenny should go for other needs and use money ear marked for Dye's salary to solidify the starting rotation. Kenny should offer them Dye and another player probably a prospect that the Braves like. Lance Broadway and or Jack Eggbert might fit better into the pitcher friendly Braves park then they would at the Cell. Hell offer them Dye, Lance and another prospect these two prospects and if Kenny gets these two guys he probably wont need to be doing much shopping the next two years.

Here is what a 2010 or 2011 Sox position roster could look like:

CF Gorkys Hernandez very speedy Venzualean righty
CF Jerry Owens lefty with enough speed to almost steal first
2B/SS Gordon Beckham five tool package fierce competitor
2B/CF/SS Brent Lillibridge righty with big time speed
SS Alexie Ramirez the southside's next Looie Aparicio only with power
RF/LF Carlos Quentin chicks love him pitchers fear him
DH King Konerko's new throne is the dugout not first base
C/DH/1B Tyrus Flowers righty with big time power
3B Josh Fields righty with plenty of power
LF/3B/RF Dayan Viciedo Cuban version of Quentin
CF/RF Brian Anderson when he learns to hitter curve will be feared
1B Brandon Allen lefty hitter good power
1B Freddie Freeman lefty hitter gap hitter with power
2B/SS/3B Chris Getz lefty utility infield pesky type
2B Jayson Nix righty with speed to leadoff

Konerko, Buerhle and Garland can show the talented kids how pros win in the bigs. By 2010 Carlos and possibly Alexei will could be clubhouse leaders as well but the older guys will have World Championship credibility.

Mr. Williams should execute the Brian Roberts trade. Lastly, the Chicago White Sox should give Ben Sheets a two year deal.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on December 9, 2008 5:41 PM.

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