South Siders in search of more offense
Originally Published: November 10, 2007By Phil Rogers | Special to ESPN.com
Look out, below.In the second season after they won a World Series, and one year after completing their first back-to-back 90-win seasons since the mid-1960s, the Chicago White Sox received an unexpected slap in the face, barely avoiding last place in the American League Central.
GM: Ken Williams
Manager: Ozzie Guillen
'07 record: 72-90, 4th AL Central
'07 payroll: $109.3M, 4th MLB
Runs scored: 693, 14th AL
Runs allowed: 839, 11th AL
OPS: .722, 12th AL
ERA: 4.77, 12th AL
Fielding percentage: .982, T-11th AL
Primary needs1. A center fielder or left fielder to hit at the top of the order. Podsednik, a major disappointment since 2005, figures to be nontendered before the Dec. 12 deadline. Jerry Owens, who hit .267 with 32 stolen bases, might be able fill one of the two holes but not both.
Free agentsCenter fielder/first baseman Darin Erstad and left-handed reliever Mike Myers became free agents when their options weren't picked up. Shortstop Juan Uribe could still join them. This is a good year to be in the market for center fielders. Aaron Rowand, Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones (especially on a short contract) are guys who intrigue White Sox officials. Mike Cameron is also in the picture. The Sox tried to sign Omar Vizquel three years ago and could renew their interest in him if they discard Uribe. They like the big splash, too, which means they could kick the Alex Rodriguez tires.
Trade baitFor the second winter in a row, the White Sox are one of the few teams with pitching to deal. They traded Freddy Garcia and Brandon McCarthy a year ago and will almost certainly trade one starter, maybe two, this winter. Jon Garland will be eligible for free agency after the season, and the Sox don't seem to have the flexibility to sign him to an extension with Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez and Jose Contreras already signed to big contracts.