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Winter meetings start with third baseman rumors for White Sox

Juan Uribe and Chase Headley pop up as possibilities, but both are far from perfect fits

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Harry How

It's the second week in December, and that means one thing.

Fine, Frank. Two things.

The winter meetings start today in Orlando, and the floor will open with a couple of new(ish) rumors around third base. Neither of which make a whole lot of sense on paper, at least without corresponding moves.

Granted, Juan Uribe always makes a certain kind of sense, because he's awesome. More specifically, he seems like he can relate to every player in a clubhouse. Eric Stephen at True Blue L.A. wrote a story last October in which Clayton Kershaw, A.J. Ellis and Matt Kemp all called him the best teammate in the locker room. You could also include Hyun-Jin Ryu, as Uribe is the Korean pitcher's best friend in baseball. He also developed a tight relationship with Yasiel Puig, often times silly, but sometimes heated.

Uribe has the chemistry bona fides that people project upon Paul Konerko, except there seems to be far more actual evidence that he helps. If you wanted to pep up a dormant clubhouse and help somebody like Jose Abreu ease into his first year in baseball, it's hard to think of a better catalyst.

Problem is, the Sox aren't short on right-handed hitters with a historical aversion to OBP, and while Uribe had a fine 2013, he was basically 2011 Adam Dunn across the previous two years. On a team with Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, Jeff Keppinger, Dayan Viciedo and two catchers, and without any firm idea of what Abreu can do immediately, there really isn't room for a talisman when he's so redundant profile-wise -- especially since they already awarded Konerko that title last week. That's that whole "wasting flexibility" thing we were talking about.

So signing Uribe would seem to necessitate multiple deals before it resulted in any kind of real vision. Few would shed tears over trading and/or expunging Beckham and/or Keppinger, but 1) that would have to happen, and 2) the Sox would have to find some offensive upside somewhere else. Otherwise, the Sox are still spinning their wheels, albeit with far more charisma this time around.


The other third baseman tied to the White Sox in the rumor mill: Chase Headley. Daryl Van Schouwen said the Sox had "shown interest," although he wrote it off as a bad fit by the end of the paragraph. Dan Hayes, who worked in San Diego before coming to CSN Chicago, said the two teams consider each other a match with rosters -- just not in this particular case. When the Sox ask about Headley, the Padres ask about Jose Quintana.

The Sox should like Headley's talent, because he's a switch-hitting third baseman with patience and some pop. The Sox shouldn't like his contract situation. Headley hits free agency next year, and the Sox aren't in a position to win immediately, so it makes zero sense to spin off one of the few bargains on the roster for a guy who will be paid retail, more or less, by the start of 2015.