By the time the White Sox meet again next spring we know that the roster is going to look a bit different. We just don't know how different.
We've all heard the talk about how the team is going to shed some payroll, but since the payroll that we'd like to get rid of isn't going to go anywhere, the names that have come up most often in trade rumors are Carlos Quentin, John Danks and Gavin Floyd. Odds are that at least one of those three won't be back, and I'm damn near certain that Carlos Quentin is going to be moved to make room for regular playing time for both Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo.
Though Kenny Williams said in a radio interview that he's going to be "as aggressive as we can possibly be" but that aggression came with a caveat. He's not moving anybody for prospects.
Because why would a farm system widely considered one of the worst in the Majors want prospects?
"Everyone I've heard speak on it is right. we have talented people, and we did not achieve what we wanted to based on some of those talented people not performing. But we're in a position where we have to look at the future. So I will not be in shopping mode -- I'll be listening to see what the interest is in some of our players. Quite frankly, I don't expect people to try to blow our doors down for some of our guys who had down years. Their value is going to be down a little bit.
"So what we have to do is weigh whatever they're offering up against our chances are for the next season. Because if we're going to move our valuable pieces it's going to be for major league ready talent so they can grow with this nice nucleus in place with [Dayan] Viciedo, [Tyler] Flowers, [Alejandro] De Aza, [Brent] Morel. And have to get [Gordon] Beckham back. We have a nice young, kind of youthful movement. Those players [coming in trades] would have to fit into that. Not A-ball players, AA type. They would have to be major-league ready and potential impact players. Will that happen? I don't know, that's why you go to the winter meetings [in early December] and you see what other teams would like to offer you. But I think shopping our guys is something we're not going to be doing.
"As long as I am in the chair we will be as aggressive as we can possibly be. If it turns out that we don't believe that we can reasonably expect the talent we have to compete for a championship, we might have to dial it back and... move today's talent for tomorrow's talent to extend a longer run for us in the future. But none of that has been determined yet until we get a gauge on what other teams feel about our players.''
By far I think the players that would bring in the most value would be Danks and Floyd, but at the same time, I'm not exactly comfortable with the idea of losing either of them. There's only one reason the White Sox even managed to win 79 games last season, and it sure as hell wasn't the offense.
So to give up pitching isn't an idea that sits well with me, at least not without getting something significant in return. The good news is, Kenny may be able to pull that off. I don't remember many winters in recent memory when teams weren't looking for starting pitchers, and the fact of the matter is that the free agent market for starters this winter really isn't that great.
CC Sabathia may become available, but he'll wind up right back in New York. Then there's C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle. After that it's a bunch of back end of the rotation guys and guys like Adam Wainwright who are coming off of injuries, and the word is that the Cardinals are expected to pick up Wainwright's option even if he did miss the entire season thanks to Tommy John.
Oh, and there's Edwin Jackson. He'll be ready to frustrate the hell out of any team or fan base for the right price this winter.
So the best way for teams to add quality starters to their roster will be through trades, so if Kenny plays his cards right, Gavin Floyd and John Danks could bring in a nice return.
As for Quentin, I don't know. He's a nice presence in the middle of any lineup when he's playing well, but he's also injury prone and I'm not sure that anybody will be willing to give up too much for him.
Which makes the fact that the Phillies were reportedly ready to send Domonic Brown here for him last July a bit more painful to stomach right now.
He'd fit pretty well into that young nucleus that the Sox are looking to add to, wouldn't he?
Maybe the Phillies would still be willing to do a deal of that ilk this winter. The team's offense failed them in the postseason and with Ryan Howard's achilles injury, they may be a bit desperate to add another big bat to the lineup.
So maybe Kenny will have more opportunities than he realizes this offseason. We've still got six weeks until the winter meetings, so until then we'll just have to deal with the rumors and our own deluded fantasies.