Thursday, December 15, 2005

What Becomes of Contreras and Garland?

The breakout star of the White Sox regular season, Jon Garland, is under contract through next season and is arbitration eligible.

The rock of the White Sox' amazing postseason run, Jose Contreras, is under contract through next season.

The question is, will either be pitching on the Southside next season?

The Sox may be the first World Series champion Chicago has seen in 88 years, but major moves remain in their immediate future depsite the acquistions of Jim Thome, Javy Vasquez, and Rob Mackowiak. With six good starting pitchers in the fold now, the question turns to who winds up being the odd-man out?

Mark Buehrle and Freddy Garcia aren't going anywhere. Neither is youngster Brandon McCarthy. Vasquez has two seasons remaining on a contract which the D-Backs will help the Sox pay with cash considerations.

That leaves Garland and Contreras. Unless one of them REALLY crashes and burns in 2006, the Sox will not be able to keep them both. They may not be able to keep either one. So if you can get something tangible for one of them now, rather than lose them in free agency in return for a draft pick, why not?

The more valuable of the two is clearly Garland, younger, more durable, but also more expensive. If Miguel Tejada REALLY wants out of Baltimore (he denies it), the Sox could dangle the hard-sinking righthander and see what the O's will cough up in return. Boston wants young pitching, and they desperately want themselves to be rid of Manny Ramirez. While a monster 3-4-5 of Ramirez-Konerko-Thome sounds amazing, cost would prevent such a deal ever happening. But maybe it's worth it for the ChiSox to see just how much of the contract the BoSox would be willing to eat.

If one thing has been proven this off-season, as has been the case in every off-season he's been at the helm of the Sox, Kenny Williams in unpredictable. Nobody saw Rowand-for-Thome as a trade possibility, and to some it wasn't exactly welcomed like an early Christmas present. But this isn't about sucking in the karma of a one-year wonder run; Kenny is priming to do that parade down LaSalle three or four more times before he checks out. Give him props for his ambition.

Just don't put any move past him.

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