White Sox side: Now's the time for trades.
That loud sound emanating from the South Side is a miserable season smacking White Sox general manager Ken Williams in the face.
“Slapped in the face, hit upside the head, whatever you want to call it,” Williams said. “Change needs to happen, and change is going to happen.”
The question’s been asked at U.S. Cellular Field on an ongoing basis: When will the Sox begin making trades? Judging by the GM’s comments before Sunday’s game, now is the time.
“Looks to me like damned near every aspect,” Williams said when asked what areas need to be addressed. “There’s no energy, there’s no production offensively.”
Williams said he has been propositioned about 10 different players and, with the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline moving closer, “people are starting to be very aggressive.”
The most highly sought player certainly will be left-handed starter Mark Buehrle, who is eligible to become a free agent after this season. A report in Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times said Boston is pushing hard for Buehrle, but Williams said, “There are no negotiations.”
With speculation rampant, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen pulled the pitcher aside Sunday.
“Don't worry about what people say if you are going to get traded today or tomorrow,” Guillen said he told Buehrle. “Right now, at 10:14 on Sunday, it ain’t going to happen.”
Williams said it would be difficult for him personally to trade Buehrle, but it is a business.
“Baseball-wise, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do sometimes,” Williams said. “And who knows? It still has to be something that, with anybody out there, it’s got to be something that makes sense for us, both in the short term and the long term before we go down the road. It’s not a given that will happen.”
Aside from Buehrle, the Sox have other pieces that could help a contender.
Considering the lack of middle infielders and quality catchers around, both Tadahito Iguchi and A.J. Pierzynski could be key acquisitions for some team. The names of Jose Contreras and Jon Garland have been brought up in the rumor mill, as have those of relievers Mike MacDougal and David Aardsma.
Jermaine Dye, also eligible to become a free agent after this season, was thought to be a target, but the strained right quadriceps that will knock him out for some time greatly diminishes his trade value.
The problem with any would-be trades, Williams stressed, is the lack of talent the Sox believe they’d be offered in return.
“Unfortunately, to a large degree, it’s our belief that the talent across the industry is down of these championship players, and very few people are interested in major league talent-for-talent deals. ... ,” Williams said.
“We go after targets. We get what we want? We do the deal. If we don’t, then we don’t regardless of the timing, regardless of any other X factor.”
As for making the postseason, changes or not, Williams isn’t feeling great about his team’s chances.
“When you lose as much as we have the last three weeks,” he said, “it’s hard to feel optimistic about that. ...
“Right now, I’m looking for respectability.”
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