Day by day and conversation by conversation, the White Sox and Rick Hahn are laying the groundwork for eventual wheeling and/or dealing:
"At the very least we have had good conversations with other clubs and a good sense of how our guys might fit to address some of their needs and how some other players out there might address ours," Hahn said. "They will lead nowhere or maybe will lead to some three-way deals in the coming weeks, but at the very least we’ve got a real good sense of what’s out there and how our guys fit. … I think you have to at least hear a team out. You never know where it may lead."
The second day of the general managers meetings at Indian Wells, Calif., didn't yield any news, but reporters get the sense that the Sox have guys to deal. "Rival executives" (suits on motorcycles circling Hahn, brandishing chains) gave Dan Hayes four players they think they could pry away from the Sox:
Alex Rios misses the list, but only because two of those rival executives told Hayes that they hadn't heard Rios was available. You may as well put a "5." next to him, because the Sox always say none of their players are "untouchable." But out of these guys, De Aza would be the most difficult player to part with, because he's an effective on-base guy at the top of the order, and he's left-handed. The Sox aren't sitting on a surplus of either.
For the budget-conscious among us, it's equally murky when figuring out what the Sox can spend. One day saw two stories about the Sox's payroll by three guys who have a history of ... imprecision.
The White Sox may have to get creative to meet whatever has been set as their salary budget. In fact, it is believed they could have exceeded it already, although they refuse to say how much below $100 million they hope to be.
Chicago is looking to become a bit more athletic while staying in the framework of a $105 million budget.
Levine is the early leader for the most underdeveloped idea of the offseason to make it to publication:
Free agent center fielder Michael Bourn would be a perfect fit as the club's leadoff hitter. The 30-year-old speedster would be a nice addition to a home-run heavy group of sluggers. But a six-year $90 million price tag that agent Scott Boras and Bourn expect to be paid does not fit -- or seem prudent -- the White Sox's mid-range budget.
ESPN Chicago's War on De Aza continues...
"I don't know, third base" update: