White Sox's busy season approaching fast


CHICAGO -- With player movement already starting around baseball just days before the annual winter meetings, the White Sox could be close to joining the fray.

Scheduled to address the media Saturday afternoon, general manager Kenny Williams canceled his conference call, a move that led to speculation that he was too involved with trade talks to break away for a short period.

The White Sox did not give an official reason for Williams’ schedule change.

Predictions are that the White Sox could be one of the busiest teams at the winter meetings, which begin Monday in Dallas, despite the fact that they aren’t expected to be a buyer on the free-agent market.

No less than four veteran players have been rumored to be available via trades from the White Sox’s roster including Carlos Quentin, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Matt Thornton.

Quentin seems the most likely to be moved (I’ll give it a 90 percent chance that he’s gone before the 2012 season begins). The White Sox have enjoyed his offensive production, but he is due to make nearly $7 million in arbitration next season and becomes a free agent in 2013.

Danks (70 percent) has seen his trade probability rise sharply of late. Indications are that the White Sox have been frustrated that previous attempts for a long-term deal have gone nowhere. Danks could make nearly $8 million next season.

Thornton (60 percent) is an interesting situation because his potential departure could leave Will Ohman as the only established lefty in the bullpen since Chris Sale is moving to the rotation. Thornton is set to make $12 million over the next two seasons.

Floyd (40 percent) is unlikely to go anywhere if Danks is traded. When the offseason began, Floyd looked like the best starting candidate to be moved leaving Danks on board as the main left-handed starter if Mark Buehrle signed elsewhere. That feeling has changed dramatically.

Then there is the Buehrle situation. The fact that he has drawn so much interest on the open market is likely a shock to the left-hander himself. Before the season had even ended, Buehrle admitted to calling his wife and telling her that it’s possible that nobody would want to sign him.

So far the Marlins and Nationals have shown the most interest in Buehrle, but at least a dozen teams have been rumored to be in the mix for his services. He’s gone from uncertainty over being wanted to being too high priced for his own team.

The above changes would seem to suggest a high roster turnover, but there are a number of veteran holdovers like captain Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.

In fact, the White Sox could field a lineup of Pierzynski at catcher, Konerko at first base, Gordon Beckham at second, Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, Brent Morel at third, Alejandro De Aza in left field, Rios in center, Dayan Viciedo in right and Dunn as the designated hitter.

General manager Kenny Williams has already said that he is seeking major league ready talent in trades and is not interested in moving experienced players for multiple prospects that could replenish the farm system.

If that is the case, the White Sox would figure to be looking for a starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever, a left fielder that can lead off and a utility infielder on the trade market.