Sox quashing rumors at quiet Meetings
Williams not expecting any big moves, including A-Rod
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Did you hear the one about Barry Bonds being a perfect fit to play left field for the budget-conscious Minnesota Twins?
That rumor or piece of newspaper analysis made its way to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, causing him to even offer mock congratulations to Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire when they ran into each other during the second day of the Winter Meetings at the Swan and Dolphin Resort on the grounds of Disney World. It served as a brief break from the rumor mill for Guillen and the White Sox, who still are being linked to players from the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez to the Blue Jays' Vernon Wells to favorite son Aaron Rowand, now practicing his craft for Philadelphia.
But in listening to Ken Williams' chat with the Chicago media Tuesday evening, it doesn't sound as if a press conference to announce a new acquisition lies anywhere on the horizon.
"I wouldn't classify anything as close. I wouldn't classify anything as imminent," said the White Sox general manager. "There were some things that make you take a step back and reassess your short-term and long-term goals.
"We sat around and had some conversations. Obviously, people are expressing interest in some of our players. We have to listen. It's our responsibility to explore every avenue."
One avenue apparently remaining closed involves Rodriguez. Then again, based on Rodriguez's strong desire to stay in New York, his no-trade clause and the Yankees' desire to keep their third baseman, that avenue never really was open.
Yet, both Williams and Guillen answered questions regarding the possible addition of one of the game's greatest players. Williams spent plenty of time talking with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Monday night, and while Williams didn't specify any player in particular, he came away from the talks with one of his close friends in the business believing a fit didn't exist between the two teams.
"We spent until about 2 o'clock [Tuesday morning] and couldn't come up with anything," said Williams of his conversations with Cashman. "I don't think there will be anything that comes up with the Yankees.
"I've got no interest in getting him better, and he has no interest in getting us better," Williams added.
During Guillen's Tuesday afternoon interview session, he acknowledged acquiring Rodriguez was "possible" but highly unlikely. Guillen also made it clear, albeit with humorous overtones, that if Rodriguez ever were to come to the White Sox, he would have to look for a new uniform number with the manager already wearing No. 13.
Williams also addressed rumors involving Wells, whom the White Sox reportedly asked about at the General Managers Meetings in Naples. Although the White Sox have players the Blue Jays could need in return, including pitching and a young outfielder, Toronto currently is not believed to be shopping its All-Star center fielder.
"Anything you hear along those lines is just a rumor," Williams said of possible deals involving Wells or even another impact center fielder such as the Braves' Andruw Jones. "Players of that ilk, it's a little bit difficult to entertain as we are in the position we are in.
"It costs you young talent to get those types of guys and it costs you pitching to get those types of guys. It's very important for everyone to remember what made us successful a couple of years ago. The formula began and ended with the pitching. I don't want to do anything to compromise that idea."
With a little less than two days remaining at the Winter Meetings, it doesn't look as if Williams will have any big decisions to make or triggers to pull in regard to impact sort of deals. Until the White Sox contingency departs on Thursday afternoon, it will be more of the same for Williams: exploring all possibilities and answering random rumors or often times media-driven proposals.
A proposal like the one bringing Bonds to Minnesota, for example. It's an idea that didn't seem like a fit to at least one opposing manager.
"I just heard a rumor Barry Bonds is going to Minnesota," said Guillen with a smile. "When you hear that, I don't know what people are drinking. That's the kind of rumor you are going to hear. I don't think Barry fits good with the [Minnesota] piranhas. Barry is a shark. He's not a piranha. I don't see Barry there."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.