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Potential White Sox Blockbuster

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 29, 2006 1:53PM

2005_sports_sox_logo.gifFrom the sound of things, White Sox GM Kenny Williams has been a busy man recently. While the Sox have yet to make the splash during the off-season their North Side rivals have, media reports suggest the White Sox may be close to making a very big trade with the Los Angeles Angels.

While additional players could be involved, the key players seem to be third baseman Joe Crede and pitcher Freddy Garcia in return for center fielder Chone Figgins and pitcher Ervin Santana.

With a number of key players eligible for free agency at the end of next season, Williams has been looking to move some of them rather than lose them without compensation. With the upward spiral of players' salaries this off-season, Williams fears being unable to re-sign 'em.

Should the Sox trade Crede, Josh Fields looks ready to step in at third base. Figgins would supplant Brian Anderson in center field and likely bat leadoff. While Figgins certainly has speed — he stole 114 bases over the past two seasons — has a low on-base percentage for a leadoff hitter. And where would this leave Anderson, or leadoff hitter and left fielder Scott Podsednik? The Angels' just signed Gary Matthews Jr. to play center and bat first, which is what makes Figgins trade bait — they're not likely to want one of those guys. Maybe manager Ozzie Guillen will platoon them in left?

As for pitching, Santana has been a very promising starting pitcher with the Angels, going 28-16 over his first two seasons in the league. At 23, he still has a lot of upside. So why, exactly, are the Angels even thinking of trading him?

We're not sold on this trade, should it come to fruition. We'd really like to see Williams work out an extension with Crede. While the Sox have a known aversion for his agent, Scott Boras, perhaps free agent salaries will come back to earth next year, and they could work something out. While we think Fields is ready to start for the Sox, we'd like to see him in left field.

On the other hand, Santana seems to be at least equal to Garcia in the rotation. But how would his acquisition clarify the Sox starting rotation in 2007? They'd still have six starters if they intend to move Brandon McCarthy into the rotation. It seems pretty clear to us that Williams will be making some additional moves. Would he also trade free agent-to-be Mark Buehrle?

We really hope that Kenny's not looking to entirely dismantle the team that won the World Series in 2005. He played with the chemistry of that team a bit too much last year, and it showed as the team limped along all season and missed the playoffs. Does he think he needs to clean house to get the Sox back into contention? Or are moves to get young a signal that their window of opportunity is closing? Guess we'll wait and see what rabbits Williams pulls out of his hat before deciding what he's up to.