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Jerry_Manuel
07-31-2001, 09:37 PM
No White Flag this year for White Sox
By Phil Rogers
Special to ESPN.com
Four years after the White Sox made a trade that had Indians' executives dancing in the halls at Jacobs Field, they quietly concluded a bit of business that might have caused some fist-slamming in those same Cleveland offices.

Lost among the weekend's headlines -- the arrival of Fred McGriff at Wrigley Field, the Yankees' addition of Sterling Hitchcock, the Twins' bold swap of Matt Lawton for Rick Reed -- was perhaps the most significant transaction of the season by a team in the American League Central. That would be the three-year contract extension that Jerry Reinsdorf reached with right fielder Magglio Ordonez.


For the moment, the White Sox are treading water in a season spoiled by cold bats in April and a merciless run of injuries. But by commiting $29.5 million to Ordonez, Reinsdorf signaled that there will be no repeat of the 1997 White Flag deal with San Francisco. Not now, and not next winter.

"They're keeping this team together," Ordonez said. "We're going to be OK. We have a good team, and I'm real excited to get it done."

In their offices, the White Sox firmly believe that Cleveland's run atop the Central is at an end. If the Tribe can wring one more postseason run out of its aging nucleus of players, so be it. But the Sox have stockpiled young talent while the Indians have consistently traded away their top prospects. Reinsdorf and GM Ken Williams are confident that the balance of power will soon shift to Chicago.

Privately, the Sox's decision-makers might feel they have enough talent in their system to win with or without Ordonez, a three-time All-Star in right field. Aaron Rowand (.333-1-6 in 36 at-bats since being promoted from Triple-A) and dynamite prospect Joe Borchard (.283-18-66 at Double-A) are waiting in the wings for an opportunity.

Trading Ordonez was a very real option if the alternative was two more years of salary arbitration and then free agency. But Reinsdorf, who had offered Ordonez only $24 million over four years last winter, dug in to get a deal done.

Ordonez, not two-time MVP Frank Thomas, has been the Sox's most consistent run-producer in recent years. He's hit 81 homers and driven in 307 runs in 411 games since the start of 1999. With Thomas expected to fully recover from surgery to repair a ruptured triceps tendon, the Sox will count on him to join Ordonez, Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee in the middle of the lineup in future seasons.

With Rowand and Borchard available as low-cost replacements, it's possible that Williams could eventually deal Konerko or Lee. But Konerko agreed to a two-year deal in spring training that will pay him $3.8 million next year, reducing the likelihood he'll be dealt.

While signing Ordonez, the White Sox also locked up reliever Bob Howry to a two-year deal worth a reported $3.2 million. He is seen as insurance against the departure of closer Keith Foulke, who could be deemed too expensive of a risk to take in arbitration.

Williams said the Sox will begin contract talks with Foulke after the trade deadline. "The timing is right to get something done," Williams told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "The arbitration table is something I'd like to avoid."

With the Ordonez extension and a promise not to mess with Thomas, Reinsdorf has proven that he not only can keep the Sox's payroll above $60 million next season but also might bump it even higher. He's been chasing a World Series ring for his 21 years in baseball and isn't ready to give up.

IA_soxfan
07-31-2001, 09:44 PM
:boston
Damn that Phil Rogers! He wrote about the wrong sox! DAMN HIM TO HELL!

Jerry_Manuel
07-31-2001, 09:49 PM
Gammons was so damn happy today that Boston got Urbina.

IA_soxfan
07-31-2001, 09:52 PM
:boston
"what's that you say......Urbina to the red sox!?! WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO.....OH....thank god for depends"

Jerry_Manuel
07-31-2001, 09:54 PM
We sit here and talk about what the hell would happen if the Cubs won the series. If Boston won the seires I think Gammons would just drop dead right on the air.

IA_soxfan
07-31-2001, 10:02 PM
:blockhead :morgan
"We'd be okay with that"