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jklm
01-30-2002, 12:16 AM
Has it been posted yet?

Burly said something KW does not like...

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Sox deal Singleton for prospect

Rowand, Simmons get shot at center

By Paul Sullivan
Tribune staff reporter

In trading Chris Singleton to Baltimore on Tuesday for a Double-A prospect, the White Sox accomplished several goals in one fell swoop.

They shed Singleton's $1.4 million salary, cleared a path for top prospect Joe Borchard and brought in an insurance policy at second base for 2003 in case Ray Durham leaves via free agency.

The Sox acquired 23-year-old Willie Harris, a 5-foot-9-inch, left-handed-hitting second baseman/outfielder who batted .305 with 54 stolen bases last year at Double-A Bowie. Harris likely is pegged for Triple-A Charlotte.

Aaron Rowand will get a prime-time shot to win the center-field vacancy in spring training, which begins Feb. 16 in Tucson, Ariz.

Rowand, who ranked fourth among American League rookies with a .293 average, still is learning to play center field. Rowand has a penchant for running into walls at high speeds.

"My only concern," general manager Ken Williams said facetiously, "is trying to get a little more padding on the center-field wall."

With defensive liability Carlos Lee still manning left, the Sox's outfield may resemble the Grand Canyon without Singleton in the middle.

Borchard is likely to begin the season at Triple A, but he could be playing in Comiskey Park by midseason.

"Aaron and Brian Simmons get the first shot," Williams said. "Obviously as the season progresses, another option is Joe Borchard."

The switch-hitting Simmons, who went to Toronto last year in the David Wells-Mike Sirotka trade but was claimed on waivers by Williams this off-season, is considered above average defensively. But the 28-year-old has yet to prove he can hit in the majors, batting .178 last year in 107 at-bats. Freak injuries plagued his first go-round on the Sox.

"I'm thinking, 'Why would they pick me up if they didn't have some plans for me?'" Simmons said.

"I'm out of options, so if they didn't want me on the team I'd become a free agent. I know I definitely have to go into spring training and prove I'm healthy and ready to go."

Williams also said Tuesday he has no plans to trade his 22-year-old ace, Mark Buehrle, despite Buehrle's apparent desire to play for the Cardinals.

Attending a sports banquet in St. Louis last week, Buehrle reportedly turned to Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty and said: "Anything you can do to get me here, I'd love to play for the Cards."

Buehrle, who grew up a Cardinals fan in St. Charles, Mo., ranked first among AL left-handers last year with a 3.29 earned-run average.

"I'm disappointed," Williams said of Buehrle's remark. "We are getting to a point now where our guys, through all the adversity we went through last year, have started to bond in a much better way. … He's an important part of our future."

While Buehrle remains Sox property, Singleton may be a perfect fit in Baltimore. Orioles center fielder Melvin Mora sustained a broken thumb recently while playing winter ball in Venezuela, and though he is expected back by late March, Singleton will get the nod in center.

During the winter meetings in December, Singleton and Jon Garland nearly were traded to Anaheim in a deal for Angels center fielder Darrin Erstad. The Angels pulled back at the last minute because they didn't want to lose a "marketable" player.

Why did the Sox give up on Singleton after he hit .318 in the second half of 2001?

"We had an opportunity to pick up a top prospect while not compromising our competitiveness," Williams said. "Beyond that, it's no secret we have a strain on our payroll, so I can't say that's not a factor. We have to manage our resources with a fine-tooth comb."

Harris, ranked the No. 8 prospect in the Baltimore system by Baseball America, can play either center or second. Considered the fastest player in the Orioles' organization, Harris was made expendable, in part, because of the progress of the sons of two former Sox players—second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. and outfielder Tim Raines Jr.

As for the status of Frank Thomas, no one has seen him hitting, but Williams expects Thomas to be ready to go when position players are scheduled to report to camp on Feb 21.

"Two weeks ago Frank told me '40 home runs and 120-130 RBIs—book it,'" Williams said. "So I'm booking it."

FarWestChicago
01-30-2002, 12:21 AM
Originally posted by jklm
Has it been posted yet? Well, there are a couple threads (one with 83 posts), a poll and a story on the home page. :smile:

jklm
01-30-2002, 12:23 AM
Originally posted by FarWestChicago
Well, there are a couple threads (one with 83 posts), a poll and a story on the home page. :smile:

Oh I mean this tribune story :) I 'approved" the trade in the poll!