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Sox Pull off Another Trade. More Deals to Follow?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 14, 2005 6:16PM

2005_12_sports_vazquez.jpgKenny Williams sure has been busy since the White Sox won the World Series. Had he simply brought back most of last year's roster, the Sox would have been a favorite to repeat. However, the taste of victory seems to have fueled an organizational urge to do everything possible ensure another trophy. Are the White Sox positioning themselves to do what the Bulls did in the 90's?

Heading into the off-season, the Sox priorities were: to sign Paul Konerko, find a capable back-up utility player, solidify the DH spot, solve the log jam in the outfield and find a better number 2 hitter.

The White Sox traded centerfielder Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome, opening a spot for Brian Anderson in the outfield and adding Thome to play DH. Konerko signed a new 5-year deal. The Sox traded Damaso Marte for Rob Mackowiak, landing the utility player they needed.

Williams latest deal is somewhat of a head scratcher in terms of filling team needs -- until you look down the road a bit. The White Sox traded starting pitcher Orlando Hernanandez, relief pitcher Luis Vizcaino and outfield prospect Chris Young to the Arizona Diamondbacks in return for starting pitcher Javier Vasquez. Only a couple years ago, Vasquez was among the most highly saught after free agent following a few successful years on a very bad Expos team. He signed with the Yankees and was sent to the Diamondbacks as part of a trade for Randy Johnson before last season.

So why, when the Sox had six legitimate starting pitchers would they trade for another one? One who's even more durable than the one they gave up? The move might signal that the Sox are not finished with their off-season moves and one of the current stable of starters will move on as part of a deal.

Both Jon Garland and Jose Contreras are free agents following the 2006 season and both have high trade value following career years in '05. The Sox have made overtures to both about long term deals, but if they want to test the free agent market next winter the Sox may move one on now.

There have been indications that former MVP shortstop Miguel Tejada wants out of Baltimore, and while the Cubs had been considered likely to pursue him, the Sox might be able to offer the best package. Depending on whether the Orioles want to go with veterans or young players, the Sox could offer either Garland, Contreras or Brandon McCarthy along with Juan Uribe in return for Tejada. Tejada would replace Uribe at shortstop and could bat second in the lineup.

The White Sox could open 2006 with the following lineup and rotation:

1. Scott Podsednik - LF
2. Miguel Tejada - SS
3. Paul Konerko - 1B
4. Jim Thome - DH
5. Jermaine Dye - RF
6. Tadahito Iguchi - 2B
7. A.J. Pierzynski - C
8. Joe Crede - 3B
9. Brian Anderson - CF

1. Buehrle
2. Contreras/Garland
3. Garcia
4. Vasquez
5. McCarthy

Chicagoist's only concern with the White Sox's roster is in the bullpen. By trading Marte and Vizciano, they leave two holes in the pen. Granted, they were probably the most inconsistent of their relievers in 2005. But somebody's got to fill their spots.