Kenny Williams wants to be cool

If you wanna be cool
Follow one simple rule
Don't mess with the flow, no no
Stick to the status quo
While Kenny Williams' decision to re-sign Juan Uribe Wednesday was met with groans by many, it was probably the best of a myraid of poor solutions. Williams admitted as much shortly after announcing the signing.
"We didn't feel as though the free agent market or the trade market presented better options than what we had with him," Williams said. "We'll take it a step at a time from here through the winter meetings, see what the possibilities are, if we can improve, but I'm not sure there are shortstops [available] who can improve the team as a whole."
The options were slim. On the free agent front, only David Eckstein represented a possible improvement over Uribe. But Eckstein will turn 33 before the season starts, missed significant playing time last season, and would have required a multiple-year commitment, possibly as high as 3 years.

On the trade front, Edgar Renteria was definitely available. And I don't have a doubt that the Sox offered Jon Garland or Jose Contreras for him, but that package couldn't match Detroit's tandem of strange first names. Jurrjens figures to start the season as Atlanta's 4th or 5th starter -- Garland or Contreras would have been somewhere between 2 and 4 -- and should settle into a long-term role a mid-rotation starter in the future; while Hernandez has an upside that none of the White Sox position prospects can match. Today, Baseball America ranked Jurrjens and Hernandez as Atlanta's 3rd and 5th ranks prospects, respectively.

Miguel Tejada is definitely on the market, amid talk that Baltimore no longer considers him a shortstop. Again the Sox were said to have interest last season, specifically putting in a claim after the waiver deadline and trying to work out a deal around Contreras and Gio Gonzalez. At this point, however, with the Mitchell Report supposedly due out before the end of the year, Kenny seems a bit gun shy about acquiring a suspected B-12 abuser.

In my off-season plan, I suggested Rafeal Furcal as good candidate for trade, but it doesn't seem that, after a down year, Ned Colletti is in any hury to get out from under his $13M contract. There could still be a fit, especially if the Dodgers are willing to trade contract-for-contract with Jose Contreras.

Although Jack Wilson and Bill Hall would seem to be available, the Sox haven't been able to make a trade fit. Pittsburgh probably wants prospects, and Wilson isn't exactly much of an offensive upgrade over Uribe; and Milwaukee wants a young starter for Hall. Garland is still relatively young, but with only one year and $12M remaining on his contract, the Sox would probably have to include a good pitching prospect (of which they have two) to make a deal.

With all the non-Uribe shortstop options there would have been an additional opportunity cost. In most of the trades, the Sox would have had to give up the young talent they should trying to horde right now. And Eckstein's probable multiple year contract, could prevent other opportunities to improve the club in other areas in addition to being a poor choice in the first place.

Keeping Uribe, the cheapest option, around for another year, while far from an optimal situation, gives the Sox freedom to continue to look for trades and doesn't lock them into a poor long-term situation.

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