Chicago White Sox: Lance Berkman
The most recent news about Berkman and Ramirez shed some light on GM Ken Williams' comment Friday when asked if the prices for a hitter still remain too high.
"I’ve found some to be high, and I’ve found some to be more reasonable," Williams said. "And all I can say on that without venturing into areas that I don’t really want to venture into, is that this team right here that we’ve got is fighting hard on every night, and we’re comfortable and confident that if there is an opportunity to add to it in any way, shape, or form, just know that we’re working on it and that it’s with the mindset that we don’t want to take away from the club that you see out on the field. It will have to be done from within the system."
That area he didn't care to venture into apparently has to do with his level of frustration. As one scout said as trade deadline news was heating up last week, "Kenny always thinks big."
Contacted immediately before Friday's game against the A's, general manager Ken Williams was asked if he would comment on the report.
"I won't deny the truth," Williams said via e-mail. "It is what it is."
So even though he might not get either of his first two trade options now that deals for Prince Fielder and Adam Dunn appear to have fallen by the wayside, Williams only seems to be more determined to make a move and help the offense ahead of Saturday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Veteran left-handed hitters Brad Hawpe of the Rockies and Lance Berkman of the Astros both are rumored to be higher on the White Sox’s wish list now.
Both fit the bill of not only having power but the ability to hit for average, as well as get on base. Hawpe, 31, is in his seventh major-league season, all with the Rockies, while Berkman, 34, is in his 12th season, all with the Astros.
Struggling through leg and rib injuries, Hawpe has just seven home runs this season, but has hit two in the past three games after smacking one as a pinch hitter Thursday. Hawpe is a career .281 AVG/.374 OBP/.493 SLG hitter.
Berkman also has had to work his way through injury, starting the season on the disabled list after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He is batting .245/.372/.436 this season, all well below his career marks of .296/.410/.549.
As the deadline for making deals gets closer, Williams’ visibility has decreased, giving the impression he is working harder on the phones in private.
Manager Ozzie Guillen, though, said that isn’t necessarily the case. Guillen is still saying that he thinks the White Sox won’t be making a significant move by Saturday, and to bolster that claim, he said he hasn’t even talked to Williams about trades for the past two days.
“I expect [the team] to stay the same way; I believe so,” Guillen said. “I think if Carlos [Quentin] swings the bat the way he did a couple weeks ago, we’re set. Everybody has to pull it together. We have to go and continue to do what we’re doing and see what happens. I don’t have any gut feeling. I just go by years and day-by-day.”
Winners of six straight, the White Sox stand at .500 with 94 games left and trail the division-leading Minnesota Twins by five games in the loss column.
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, assistant GM Rick Hahn and their staff are looking at their team much differently now than they did two weeks ago when they trailed by as much as 9 1/2 games. The most likely scenario now is to add players rather than subtract.
If this recent trend of outstanding pitching continues through the Braves and Chicago Cubs series, the White Sox will be out there looking for some extra RBI pop in their lineup. Run production continues to be spotty for this team after Paul Konerko and Alex Rios. The rest of the lineup has been up and down all season, especially right fielder Carlos Quentin, who has shown some signs of returning to his 2008 form which was a monster offensive year for the former Arizona Diamondbacks No. 1 pick.
Teams that will soon be putting up their players for sale in the National League include the Diamondbacks, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals. The Cubs are on the cusp of that list as well.
American League teams ready to dump players include the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. Productive left-handed RBI men like Washington's Adam Dunn and Houston's Lance Berkman are names that will be out there over the next 40 days before baseball's trading deadline on July 31. Baltimore outfielder Luke Scott, a big-time fly ball hitter, will be on the radar for teams like the White Sox who are desperate for left-handed run production.
A.J. Pierzynski leads White Sox left-handed hitters with 18 RBIs.
The Williams-Ozzie Guillen disagreement began in the offseason when Guillen asked for more flexibility with the designated hitter role and Williams agreed against his own better judgment. Williams made one last shot toward getting more left-handed when he went down to the wire with free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon, falling a couple million dollars short in his bid for the former Yankee, who signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.
July 1 still may be a magic date for the Sox when they finish a nine-game segment against the Braves, Cubs and Royals. That period of games will help Williams and his staff determine the true worth of their roster. The White Sox have 10 games left with Minnesota and Detroit and time to make the American League Central a three-team race.
The Houston Astros may be ready to start moving some of their veteran players, according to major-league sources.
Switch-hitting first baseman Lance Berkman has caught the interest of the Chicago White Sox. Berkman’s ability to hit right-handed pitching is something the Sox are most interested in obtaining. Chicago has just 19 RBIs produced left-handed hitting in 28 games.
Berkman said on Thursday he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Astros asked him.
Berkman is in the last year of a $14 million contract with an option year for 2011 or a $2 million buyout.
Berkman has played the outfield and first base, but he’s viewed now as a first baseman. Houston mostly likely would want young players back in any for a veteran.
The Sox’s top prospect is outfielder Jordan Danks, who is the brother of starting pitcher John Danks.