A generally flat Winter Meetings ended in anticlimactic fashion, with White Sox brass skedaddling back up I-65 before noon.
Still, no news is better than bad news, and the Sox leave the meetings hinting which direction they might pursue next.
*Interest in Hideki Matsui. I understand the desire to not commit to a pure designated hitter after a couple years of seeing Jim Thome make Jermaine Dye play defense, but Matsui is a good fit. Especially if it’s only a year.
Matsui says he’s healthy enough to play the outfield, and honestly it wouldn’t hurt that much to give him a rotation every couple of weeks. Considering Ozzie Guillen 1) didn’t move Dye after scores of JD Triples and 2) played a bunch of career infielders all over the outfield, it’s not like he can claim he has standards all of a sudden.
*Correct amount of interest in J.J. Putz (so far). Originally, I said that a $1-2 million base salary would be appropriate. But the Winter Meetings proved to be fertile ground for middle-relief paydays, so if it’s $2.5 million like Bruce Levine figures, that wouldn’t be awful, either.
If a bromance with Matt Thornton isn’t a strong enough lure, then so be it. Hopefully, the Sox are still stinging from the Scott Linebrink contract to really push it.
*Fake Kenny Williams. Craig Calcaterra talks about a guy I desperately want to see:
I love the Fake Kenny Williams. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s a guy here who looks like a fatter Kenny Williams. Not sure who he is or who he works for, but he has the same haircut and same features. Could be his brother. Many of the writers even mistook him for Williams for the first day or so. Some of us saw him talking to people in the lobby last night and desperately wished that he was spreading false White Sox rumors. “Well, we’re thinking about converting Beckham into a reliever seeing as how valuable they are these days.”
*Gordon Beckham, leadoff man. Of course, Real Ozzie Guillen floated the crazy idea of making Beckham learn a second new position — leadoff. Real Gordon Beckham wasn’t exactly thrilled:
“I’ve heard the rumors,” Beckham said from his Atlanta-area home as the Sox concluded the winter meetings still in pursuit of someone for the top of the order. “I kind of hope I don’t lead off. I’ve never lead off before.”
Beckham did add that he’d do what was asked of him, but hopefully voicing his discomfort will sway Guillen and Williams from exploring the idea further, instead of holding it against him. Maybe they’ll be scared by the Nick Swisher fallout. And speaking of the leadoff position and Swisher…
*Interest in Brett Gardner. Since it was reported, it’s not likely to happen, but Joe Cowley gives us something to chew on.
According to a scout familiar with the situation, the Sox were one of two teams in the American League Central letting the New York Yankees know during the winter meetings this week that they covet outfielder Brett Gardner. The Kansas City Royals also were wondering what it would take to acquire the promising 26-year-old leadoff hitter.
Gardner’s worth a look, much more so than the Scott Podsednik/Coco Crisp/Juan Pierre troika. Unfortunately, I doubt that Brian Cashman would accept Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez in return, and his low ceiling could lead to a dangerous bidding war.
Also worth reading: J.J. talks about the five things we learned over the course of the week.
In Rule 5 Draft news, there is no Rule 5 Draft news.