Smoke and (CF) Aces - What would White Sox GM, Williams Do?

Hector Lavoe, the great Puerto Rican salsa crooner once sang “your love is like yesterday’s news,” (Tu amor es como un periódico de ayer) and in this day and age, yesterday’s news (actually, this past monday’s news) should seem like a teenage fling to the middle-aged White Sox GM, Kenny Williams.

You see, right after trading for Orlando Cabrera, Williams was on the verge of landing Torri Hunter. The Sun-Times “broke” a story last Monday that reported:

Sources both in the Sox organization and the camp of free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter have told the Sun-Times that the two sides could be signing a contract within the week.

In other words, while it appeared Williams was playing checkers in the Garland for Cabrera deal, he was actually playing chess, staying moves ahead of the game.

Before I try to offer my opinion on the “reporter” with some dry, witty, sarcastic remark, lets remember that the reporter in question is Joe Cowley, who once famously voted Derek Jeter 6th in his MVP ballot, contributing to Morneau getting the trophy, with Jeter not far back in the polls.

Let’s just say I will think twice next time I read something penned by Cowley.

We now know, of course, that the Angels had their finger on the dial right after hanging up the trade-talk phone with the ChiSox. And were that much quicker. And those chess moves that Williams was so erroneously praised for, might actually have him in check.

Without Hunter, Williams’ center field options in the free agent market are reduced to Andruw Jones and former South-sider Aaron Rowand – and Sox fans are torn.

Personally, I can’t ignore Jones’ horrendous season this year and I cannot possibly imagine Rowand commanding less than $75 million over 4 years. However legendary his status among Sox fans is, I doubt Rowand is really worth that much.

Let’s think about this for a minute. It’s rumored that the Angels beat out Williams by $20 mill. Which means he had offered a 4-year/$70 deal. I doubt he offered a 5th year; Williams favorite flavor in contracts is of the 3-year-kind. And now that the Sox shelled $19 mil per 4 years for Scott Linebrink, I can only assume Williams decided to spend some his CF money on relief pitching.

In reality Williams has a few more options. There’s always Kosuke Fukudome, who, according to UmpBump’s very own Paul Moro, will command around $10 mill over 4 years. (Considering Hunter’s inflated price tag, Fuku’s price tag suddenly jumped to about $30mill/4years.

And then there are the prospects. For the past four years, the White Sox have had promising outfield prospects that fizzled once they made it to the majors.

Consider this: Last time the White Sox signed a Japanese player (Iguchi in ’05), they won the World Series. Last time they failed to move their underachieving outfielders and/or upgrade via free-agency, well, this season happened.

Williams has already released World Series hero Scott Podsednik. Can I pull a Joe Cowley and say he’ll go after Fukudome instead of Jones/Rowand?

Only time can tell.

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