Crede, who turns 29 on April 26, produced 2006 numbers worthy of the American League Silver Slugger award at third base, after setting career highs with his 31 home runs and 94 RBIs. His RBI jump of 32 from 2005 to 2006 ranked as the 10th-highest differential in the Majors, falling two behind teammate Jermaine Dye and Seattle's Raul Ibanez.
The Gold Glove-caliber third baseman currently stands as arbitration eligible, and is under White Sox control until after the 2008 season. With Williams telling the Chicago Tribune recently that a long-term contract extension was unlikely for Crede because of the market's current landscape, and with 2004 top draft pick Josh Fields developing as a possible replacement, a trade involving Crede seemed to increase in likelihood.
Although the White Sox like both Figgins and Santana, the proposed trade as rumored currently would not take place. Williams' continued support of Crede, though, doesn't mean he won't listen to offers brought before him.
"I can't help it if people want to inquire about him," said Williams of Crede. "Good players are asked about."
Feeling strong: By the time Brian Anderson's Winter Ball stint in Venezuela came to a close, the young center fielder simply was hoping to get through a game without throwing up or giving out. But Anderson reported Wednesday a decided upswing in his physical condition, after being treated for stomach bacteria that could have originally been a parasite.
"One million times better," said Anderson in describing how he currently felt, adding that his weight is back up to 215 pounds and he should be back at his normal weight of 220 pounds by the February start of Spring Training.
Anderson, 24, finished his first season as an everyday starter with a .225 average, but it was quite an accomplishment when considering his offense fell to a paltry .192 mark at the All-Star Break. Barring any sort of offseason movement, Anderson will be competing with his close friend and fellow top prospect Ryan Sweeney for an open slot in the White Sox outfield.
Getting healthy again has Anderson completely ready for the 2007 challenge.
"I need to be a man and put behind me what happened last year, using it as a learning experience and get ready to go," Anderson said. "I needed to kick this thing, get it going and not hit .225 next year."
Back in the fold: Signing Ross Gload to a one-year, $625,000 contract Monday signals the return of one of the White Sox most valuable utility players. Not only does Gload have the second-highest average as a pinch-hitter in the Majors since 2004 at .340, but he also can spell first baseman Paul Konerko, designated hitter Jim Thome and right fielder Jermaine Dye when needed.
Gload's expressed desire to stay with a team in contention for a World Series title, as opposed to moving to another lesser team where he could receive 500 at-bats, is an important component of his game in Williams' mind.
"It's necessary for survival in his role," said Williams of Gload, who hit .327 with 18 RBIs over 156 at-bats last season. "Ross is a good player. He's probably getting the short end of the stick being with our club. Given the chance to play regularly, I think he would be one of the better first basemen."
Standing pat? Williams will look at upgrades at positions such as left field or in the bullpen. But unless it's a clear-cut improvement for the White Sox, he's most likely to stay with the players in place.
"I would rather go to battle with these guys, unless it's an obvious upgrade," Williams said. "I know what they are made of."
Pitching in: Pitching coach Don Cooper and one-time White Sox hurler Kevin Hickey will be imparting their wisdom to young hurlers during weekend pitching camps on Dec. 16-17, 2006, and Jan. 6-7, 2007, in Tinley Park.
Each individual will attend a 2 1/2-hour session on Saturday and another 2 1/2-hour session on Sunday, with the groups being divided by age and skill level. Sessions for ages 12-and-under run from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and ages 13-and-over run from 12 to 2:30 p.m. The camps are scheduled to take place at 8402 W. 183rd St. The camps in Tinley Park cost $175 per player. For further information, contact Hickey at (773) 735-2222.