"We were pretty close on a bat," Epstein said. "We had a few different targets out there, one primary target that we feel we made a strong offer. I think, indeed, we had the strongest offer out there on the player.
"I haven't seen conclusively, but I think the team decided to keep that player. We can certainly sleep at night knowing we put our best foot forward for that player, made a really strong proposal, and we'll live to fight another day there."
Dye will live to fight another day as part of the White Sox, and just maybe many more days after this season. Dye once again expressed his desire to stay with the team where he won a World Series title two years ago and had a Most Valuable Player-caliber season in 2006, even if it means accepting less than full market value on the open market.
In fact, Dye spoke Tuesday without specificity of talks between Robert Bry, his agent, and the White Sox over a possible contract extension. Having already gone through a very public set of negotiations where Mark Buehrle's eventual four-year, $56 million deal was concerned, Williams chose not to relive the same process when asked about Dye.
"Respectfully to everyone, I understand that you all have a job to do," said Williams to the media on a conference call following the non-waiver deadline. "That last negotiations we had with Mark Buehrle reaffirmed that the dealings we do with a player will stay as quiet as we can keep them.
"So, I would prefer not to make any comments on that," Williams added.
Boston appeared to be the team most fervently pursuing Dye, from talks of three-team deal midway through last week, to rumors of an exchange involving Willy Mo Pena and Manny Delcarmen on Monday. One source close to the negotiations said the Red Sox did not want to part with Delcarmen, and the White Sox weren't willing to settle for anything less than their targeted players.
According to Dye, he was never asked to waive his limited no-trade clause. That clause involves four teams, including the Red Sox. Although Dye didn't pay much attention to the ongoing rumors, he appreciated the fact that teams in contention were seeking him out -- teams with room for him to start or play frequently.
That same regular playing time might not have been afforded to Dye on a deep team such as Boston, meaning Dye probably would have blocked the move.
"Once that [Mark] Teixeira deal went through, a lot more focus was on me," Dye said. "A lot of the rumors that were with me, you can see myself fitting on those teams.
"Probably the most talked-about team was Boston, and it would be hard for me to fit on that team, playing every day and trying to show teams out there that I'm a free agent and this is what I want to do and hopefully you want me. That's probably the most talked-about team and the least amount of playing time I would have got."
Of course, Dye hopes there's no need to prove anything to another team aside from the White Sox. Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez and Jon Garland all served as trade targets, much like Dye, during this week of speculation. But with the White Sox built on one of the best starting rotations in baseball, Williams asked for a large bounty of talent in return, and rightfully so.
Utility outfielder/infielder Rob Mackowiak eventually joined second baseman Tadahito Iguchi as the only White Sox players to relocate. Mackowiak, hitting .278 with six home runs and 36 RBIs, was shipped to San Diego for Minor League hurler Jon Rink on Tuesday afternoon.
"It came down to the number of lefties we had in the lineup and coming off the bench," said Williams of the Mackowiak trade.
"You don't hear a lot going on," Mackowiak added. "There's always that possibility. The way the team is going this year, you don't know what direction they're going. So, there's a possibility for anything to happen."
Anything now could include Dye staying with the White Sox through what the right fielder believes could be his last multi-year deal. The White Sox move forward with youngsters such as Josh Fields at third base, Danny Richar at second and Jerry Owens in center.
Williams also is left to briefly think "what if" in regard to the deals that didn't materialize, even if Dye believes he was not a primary target to be moved.
"They have a budget and all that, so they have to try to figure out some things there," Dye said. "Hopefully, this is a good sign. I don't think they want to just give me away for nothing. Hopefully, something will get done. Kenny's expressed he wants me here, and it's just a matter of them seeing what they can do."
"It was not the day we had hoped for," Williams countered. "I'm not frustrated. The way we operate, this isn't a one-day affair for us. This is a process we've been working on for weeks. We weren't going to just make up a deal for change sake. There wasn't one that made sense for us, so that's why it didn't come about."