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White Sox Hot Stove Heats Up

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 4, 2004 6:08PM

2004_11_sports_vizquel_beltran.jpgWith last week's end of the World Series, teams have begun planning their rosters for next season. Players have begun to file for free agency and teams have started making out wish lists of player to target.

The White Sox brass are meeting in Las Vegas for some planning ahead of next week's General Managers' meetings.

The team seems resigned to parting ways with All Star outfielder Magglio Ordonez. Injured most of this past season, he and his agent have not been keeping the Sox in the loop very well regarding a second surgery he has in Vienna or about his rehab, nor have they contacted the club regarding contract matters.

Meanwhile, the Sox have turned their attention to some other All Stars -- namely Omar Vizquel and Carlos Beltran. Vizquel is one of the premier fielding shortstops in the game, a likely leadoff hitter, and fairly cheap at an expected $8 million, 2 year deal. Who wouldn't want Beltran? The All Star outfielder Hit 38 home runs, drove in 104 runs, and stole 42 bases while playing for Kansas City and Houston this past season. One of the most coveted free agents this off-season, the Sox will be fighting over him with the Yankees, Astros, Cubs, etc. Why do the Sox think they have a prayer of luring him to the South Side? Chicagoist doesn't know! But maybe GM Ken Williams has heard something through the grapevine?

Regardless of his interest, Beltran will be demanding top dollar. His agent, Scott Boras, is looking for a 10-year deal worth about $18 - $20 million a year. But could locking up a good, young star for the long term be a cost savings measure? If he's getting $20 million in 5 years when other All Stars are making $30 million, it'll look like a steal. But on the other hand, should baseball institute a salary cap or maximum contracts like the NBA did, such a contract could become a financial albatross.

GM Ken Williams has certainly been agressive since taking the helm, so this year's GM meeting should produce some interesting Sox news.