Notes: Sox not rushing Crede decision
Team wants to avoid knee-jerk trade that might hurt long term
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Deciding Joe Crede's future in Chicago truly doesn't have to be accomplished until Opening Day, allowing the White Sox to avoid any sort of knee-jerk reaction involving the veteran third baseman.
But general manager Ken Williams stated on Monday that a decision has been made in regard to their over-abundance of talent at the hot corner, meaning that either Crede or Josh Fields still will be with the White Sox by late March. Williams could only offer up a "possibly" in response to the question as to whether such said decision will play out by the end of the current Winter Meetings.
"I'm not trying to be coy," Williams said. "There are some things you just have to go through the process and let time evolve."
Williams had mentioned earlier in the offseason that Fields' brief experiment in left field officially had come to a close. He also stated that Fields could end up back with Triple-A Charlotte, if a trade did not materialize to settle this issue.
On Monday, Williams ruled out any sort of utility role for Fields in 2008.
"If Josh Fields is going to be on this club, it's going to be playing every day," Williams said.
With Crede set to become a free agent in 2009, he appears to be the veteran on the proverbial trading block. Crede is coming off of back surgery that cut short his 2007 season, but is just one year removed from winning the American League Silver Slugger award for his position.
According to Williams, Scott Boras, Crede's agent, recently had reached out to White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn. But the talk centered on Crede coming through his back program well.
"No discussion of a contract has taken place," said Williams, who approached the Crede camp with talk of an extension last season, but was told they would prefer to play out the 2008 campaign.
Crede's contributions to the White Sox 2005 World Series championship season, and his development within the system as a whole, would seem to make this move difficult. But from Williams' point of view, the decision to be unveiled in the future was not very hard to make at all.
"In terms of sitting back and looking at it from a logical, where are we know, where are we headed kind of perspective," explained Williams, who also mentioned Crede was recently brought into Chicago to have the White Sox doctors lay eyes on him and that he was definitely progressing. "From a personal standpoint, it's a little more difficult, but they all are.
"I get very close to our players and no matter which direction you turn, you're affecting someone's livelihood, you're affecting their careers and life, and that's never sat well with me. That's why we have a lot of conversations before we do things. We don't have to rush into anything. We'll take our time."
Law of averages: White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has been satisfied with his team's offseason additions of shortstop Orlando Cabrera and right-handed reliever Scott Linebrink.
"I would be happier if we had got Torii Hunter, but we are moving in the right direction," Reinsdorf told MLB.com on Monday.
Reinsdorf also pointed to the returning players within the White Sox lineup as a reason for optimism in 2008. He's counting on the fact that some of the 2007 subpar results produced by his quality veterans won't replay themselves in the immediate future.
"One thing a lot of people are forgetting is that we had a bunch of guys with subpar years, and some will come back to what they normally were," Reinsdorf said. "If you take out the Baseball Encyclopedia and look at players who had long careers, go down year-by-year, and everyone either has a great year or bad year thrown in some place.
"Then, they go back to what they were. We should have some good recovery."
Missed chance for success? Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney still remain part of the White Sox organization. The addition of Carlos Quentin via trade Monday and the White Sox continued quest for an outfield upgrade make it seem less likely, though, either young outfielder will play a major role if they stay around for 2008.
That decision for Williams in regard to this pair of top prospects falls back on winning in the present.
"You know me. It's always about this year," Williams said. "When opportunity is given, and certain expectations haven't been met, or that time table hasn't come about in regards to, I'm not talking about one player, just whomever it may be, then we have to make an adjustment.
"That adjustment comes from the trade market, or comes from re-signing a guy maybe you thought you weren't going to re-sign at a given time. It is a variety of things that come into play. While we have our plans mapped out, I'm not so rigid in them that we can't maintain our flexibility.
"Part of that is identifying when a young guy is ready and when he's not. We've given a couple opportunities," Williams added. "By no means does that mean that these moves we've made in the outfield that we have cast these guys aside. They're very high on our lists, still. But for today and right now, we've got to do what we've go to do to put the best team on the field."
Good luck and good riddance: Although Williams stopped short of offering up one of his own players as an added bonus to finish off a potential trade for Boston or the Yankees involving Johan Santana, the White Sox general manager certainly wouldn't be sad to see the ace left-hander leave the AL Central.
"I will pick his [rear end] up at the airport and drive him to what I hope is a National League team," said Williams, with a wry smile, concerning one of the White Sox chief tormentors.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.