One driving force guides Ken Williams as the White Sox general manager enters the 2007 Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., next week. Actually, make that two driving forces: winning a Word Series title in 2008 and avoiding anything close to a repeat of 2007's rough showing. "We were embarrassed last year and embarrassed for a long time," Williams said.
Williams already has taken strides in revamping that particular squad, adding shortstop Orlando Cabrera through a trade and right-handed reliever Scott Linebrink via free agency. But with an outfield upgrade and continued bullpen help on his mind, Williams' work is not yet complete. 2007 finish: 72-90, fourth place in American League Central Deals so far: Acquired Cabrera from the Angels in exchange for right-hander Jon Garland; signed Linebrink (four years); re-signed shortstop Juan Uribe (one year); declined team option on first baseman/outfielder Darin Erstad and left-hander Mike Myers; designated outfielder Scott Podsednik for assignment; outrighted right-hander Ryan Bukvich, outfielder Luis Terrero and left-hander Paulino Reynoso to Triple-A Charlotte. Bukvich and Terrero elected to become free agents. Players eligible for arbitration: Third baseman Joe Crede.
Free agents: Erstad, Myers.Needs: An impact player in the outfield. The White Sox liked the way Jerry Owens finished the 2007 season in center field and as the team's leadoff hitter, but he could be moved to left field if the team adds a front-line free agent in center such as Aaron Rowand. They also could be looking to add another veteran arm to the bullpen and must decide what to do with the abundance of talent at third base in Crede and Josh Fields. Dealing strengths: Both Crede and Fields should draw strong interest on the trade market, although only one of the two figures to get moved. The White Sox also have an abundance of talented young hurlers, such as Lance Broadway, Jack Egbert and even top left-handed prospect Gio Gonzalez, as well as outfielders Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.