“I’ve heard the rumors,” Beckham said from his Atlanta-area home as the Sox concluded the winter meetings still in pursuit of someone for the top of the order. “I kind of hope I don’t lead off. I’ve never lead off before.” … “If I have to bat leadoff, I’ll make do,” said Beckham, who batted .270 in 103 games while working his away from the bottom of the Sox’s batting order to the second spot. I’ll work at being good at it. I’m OK if they want me to bat there.” … “I don’t think they’d ask me to change much,” Beckham said. “The only thing it would hurt (batting leadoff) would be my RBIs.”
Beckham looks forward to his move to 2B:
“I’ll be OK. The only transition is turning (the double play).”
According to a scout familiar with the situation, the Sox were one of two teams in the American League Central Division letting the New York Yankees know during this week’s Winter Meetings that they covet the services of outfielder Brett Gardner. The problem is Kansas City was also sniffing around what it would take to get the promising 26-year-old leadoff hitter.
What might work in Williams’ favor, however, is that he is not only friendly with Brian Cashman, but is no stranger to doing deals with the Yankees GM. Not only did Williams get Jose Contreras from New York back in 2004, but the two paired up again last winter, with the Sox finding a new residence for disgruntled outfielder Nick Swisher. …
Gardner caught Kenny’s eye in the 2007 AFL.
Williams’ urgency wasn’t quite reciprocated during the four days spent in Indianapolis, as agreeing to a three-year, $14 million extension with Mark Teahen was the only move made by the team. But the White Sox have laid the groundwork for other potential additions — some could happen fast, while others might take a while to play out.
J.J. Putz, the one-time Seattle closer who is recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow, stood as a prime target for a White Sox bullpen upgrade. Although Putz has numerous teams interested, the White Sox could have a decision by the beginning of next week or move on to another pitcher.
Hideki Matsui remains a designated hitter of interest, as a left-handed power bat who would support the middle of the White Sox lineup. But Matsui’s side continues to have talks with the Yankees, and with the White Sox basically at budget, it might take until January before they can decide on how to fill this void. Finding a leadoff hitter as the third outfielder might stand as more of a priority, with Scott Podsednik and Coco Crisp still possible fits. …
Ken Davidoff has a different take on Matsui:
Increasing expectation around MLB is that the Yankees will eventually re-sign Hideki Matsui. Could take until January.
Bruce Levine says the Sox made a contract offer to J.J. Putz:
The Cubs and White Sox appear to be the lead teams on signing former closer J.J. Putz to a contract. Putz worked out for the cubs on Wednesday and will do so again on Friday. Upwards of six or seven other teams have also watched Putz work out. The former Seattle and Mets relief pitcher will most likely get an incentive-laden contract that could start at around $2.5 million and can realize another $6 or $7 million with incentives. The White Sox have been the most aggressive team on Putz and have already made an offer to his agent Craig Landis.
Cowley: Teahen on life with the Sox now: “Every year with Kansas City I would try and convince myself we made the right moves.”
Cowley: “…. But we knew that we would have to have everything work out perfectly for a chance.’
Cowley: “The nice thing with Chicago with the team in place, guys don’t have to overachieve. They just need to do what they’re capable of doing.”
The White Sox didn’t select nor lose a player in the major league phase of Thursday morning’s Rule 5 draft. In the minor league phase, Washington selected pitcher Arismendy Mota and the New York Mets took Johnny Lujan from the Sox’s Double-A Birmingham roster. The Sox will receive $24,000 from those selections.
The Yankee$ lost Kanekoa Texeira to the Mariners, a relieve pitcher the Sox send to the Yankee$ in the Nick Swisher trade last year.
The Rule 5 draft marks the end of the 2009 Winter Meetings.